Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby’s request to overturn thousands of marijuana-related cases has been denied, The Baltimore Sun reports. The approximate 5,000 cases were denied dismissal because Mosby allegedly failed to present the adequate evidence, which would prove that the charges against those accused had a “disparate impact” on their lives.
Baltimore District Court Judge Kathleen Sweeney also reportedly questioned Mosby’s motives for wanting to clear these cases, because, she herself had prosecuted some of them. Initially, Mosby announced in January that she was going to stop prosecuting folks for marijuana-related cases, which disproportionately affect people of color in impoverished communities.
According to a study conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2013, African-Americans are 3.73 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possession of marijuana. This, of course, impacts the national average of incarceration which affects black men the most. The same study found that the black arrest rate is 716 per 100,000 while whites are affected by 192 per 100,000.
“Ask any mother who has lost a son to gun violence whether she wants us to spend more time solving and prosecuting her son’s killer or to spend time on marijuana possession,” Mosby said in a statement, NPR reports. “It’s not a close question.”
“Though white and Black residents use marijuana at roughly the same rates, marijuana laws have been and continue to be disproportionately enforced against people of color,” she continued. “There is absolutely no link between marijuana and violent crime and we’ve seen that all across the country.”
Mosby had plans to dismiss cases that dated as far back as 2011. She presented the Baltimore District Court to dismiss nearly 3,800 cases and another 1,000 cases from the Baltimore Circuit Court, who is represented by Circuit Judge W. Michel Pierson.
“With 3,778 opportunities, the State fails to identify any actual single consequence suffered by any of these individuals,” Sweeney stated.
The state attorney is disappointed that authorities did not comply with her requests. “The role that courts play in our society is to be a place of last resort for people who have been wronged,” Mosby wrote in an email to WBFF Fox Baltimore reported. “I am deeply disappointed that this ruling did not afford us any opportunity to present legal arguments and essentially eliminated the court from being a safe harbor for those that were harmed by the discriminatory enforcement of marijuana laws in this city. My office is considering our options and will pursue all avenues to ensure we continue standing up for the people of Baltimore.”