In Baltimore last week, Marilyn Mosby, the Prosecutor for the City of Baltimore, MD, announced that she will no longer pursue cases for marijuana offenses. Now… the BPD disagrees with the new policy and have made it clear that the arrests will continue. This disagreement seems to call the entire purpose of the policy into question, but it also raises bigger questions. One of which hearkens back to one of the most sensational trials of the mid-1800s.
Back in 1865, something happened in Springfield, Missouri that had not really happened before. And frankly, really didn’t happen as much as Hollywood and Zane Gray make it seem that it did. William Hickok and Little Dave Tutt found themselves face-to-face in the street. Somebody drew first and when the dust settled, Little Dave Tutt was dead.
Mr. Hickok, “Wild Bill,” as you know him, was charged with murder based on the twenty-two witnesses to the fight. A few days later, as stories changed, the charges were reduced to Manslaughter and the trial began. The witnesses seemed all over the place. Was there one shot, or two? Did you see who drew first? You were behind one of the men so you really couldn’t see what happened? Wait… you say he never fired but you admit that there is an empty chamber in his pistol?
At the time, the State of Missouri had no “self-defense” law on its books. Which meant that either Hickok shot Little Dave Tutt or… well… he did shoot Tutt. The law won’t recognize his self-defense claim, so there’s no way to instruct the jury to accept it. Or… is there?
Which has me wondering if there isn’t a better way for We the People to let our wishes be known than to have DA’s with more political aspirations than an understanding of their oaths telling us what they will and won’t do?