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by Peter Moskos

September 15, 2010

Bernstein defeats Jessamy!

Jessamy may finally be on the way out as Baltimore City State's Attorney. And good riddance to her!

If these results hold, it's good news for police and good new for Baltimore. Do I know anything about Berstein? No. Nothing than the fact he's not Jessamy, who has been at the post since 1995. And while it wouldn't be fair to blame Jessamy for Baltimore's crime, she has, to put it mildly, never done much to help police. A sign of that was Police Commissioner Bealefeld's public endorsement of Bernstein.


Anonymous said...

Sincere question: what should she have done to help police? What things are you hoping Bernstein will do different to help police?

PCM said...

It is my sincere belief (and I may be wrong...) that Jessamy does not like or trust police. That's fine for a defense attorney. Not so good for a persecutor.

The prosecutor has a tremendous amount of discretion and I don't think Jessamy used it productively.
Teamwork between her people and police has never been good. Important cases that should be prosecuted aren't. Or cases are dropped on the false claim that reasonable suspicion for a stop or probable cause for an arrest don't exist.

I wrote about this some in my book.

So I'm hoping that under Bernstein, the culture of the entire office will change and be less hostile to police.

Jay Livingston said...

If it's the same Bernstein that was the DA on Hill Street Blues, I wouldn't get my hopes too high. (Showing my age.)

PCM said...

Hill Street Blues wasn't exactly before my time... but I was a bit too young to get into it.

I wonder how it ages? Should I find it on DVD and watch it?

Cleanville Tziabatz said...

Well, if the same problem continues under new prosecutor Bernstein then that would be a pretty clear signal that the problem wasn't so much the local state attorney, but rather the local police force not respecting the Constitution. It is only the attorney's job to trust police when they are telling the truth. When the police force has an honesty problem, it becomes the attorney's job to distrust police.

This was basically the problem in the OJ Simpson case. Distrust of the LAPD in that community was so high that the jury was (correctly) unable to take the police at their word, even though we know from things that happened outside of the trial that the police were telling the truth about the double murder. The attorneys were put in an impossible position by a widespread pattern of police dishonesty.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully change will be seen under Bernstein we need new blood at the States Attorneys office 13 yrs is way too long!