The “extraordinary treatment” of the six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray by the Baltimore City Circuit Court illustrates a dramatic double standard, so says public defender (and candidate for Baltimore City Circuit Court judge) Todd Oppenheim in a recent New York Times opinion piece.
In “Another Baltimore Injustice,” Oppenheim contrasts the details of the officers’ arrests, hearings, and trials to the “inferior brand of justice” typically afforded his clients.
First of all, Oppenheim notes that the officers were allowed to turn themselves in on a Friday afternoon, which enabled them to post bail before their Monday appointment with the judge. In contrast, Oppenheim’s clients who are charged with serious crimes are “snatched off the street” and may find themselves without adequate time to gather bail money.
Oppenheim calls the officers’ bail amounts — ranging from $250,000 to $350,000 — “disproportionately low.” He cites a Baltimore “protester charged with much less serious offenses” who was given a $500,000 bail.
Oppenheim calls it “highly unusual” that the officers were allowed to skip their own pretrial motions. A client of his, on the other hand, was penalized for missing an arraignment of which he was never notified. The public defender says the officers’ cases have gone to trial “faster than nearly any other in the system.”