Prosecutors in Montgomery County, Maryland — the bastion of leftism and Trump hatred I call home — have dismissed charges against the woman who assaulted Kellyanne Conway in a restaurant where Conway was celebrating her birthday. The woman, Mary Elizabeth Inabinett, age 63, grabbed Conway from behind and shook her.
That’s clearly a misdemeanor assault. So why have charges against the assailant been dropped?
Prosecutors say that even if they could prove their case, Inabinett would not deserve the type of punishment that might flow from a conviction. There’s no legitimate question that prosecutors could prove their case. Inabinett certainly committed an assault when she grabbed Conway and shook her. Indeed, she has apologized for doing so.
And why doesn’t Inabinett deserve the punishment a court would impose? The sentence would be within the range of punishment prescribed by law and, presumably, would be informed by any mitigating or special circumstances such as the woman’s apology and the fact that she has no prior convictions.
The prosecutor would, no doubt, recommend leniency. There’s little doubt that a Montgomery judge would be sympathetic to Inabinett.
The penalty for Inabinett’s crime is “imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or a fine not exceeding $2,500 or both.” At a minimum Inabinett should be fined for assaulting Conway.
In short, Montgomery County prosecutors have usurped the role of lawmakers who criminalized assault and determined the range of penalties for it, and of judges who evaluate mitigating factors. Consider the statement of Montgomery State’s Attorney John McCormick:
Was this woman rude? Yes. Did she violate Ms. Conway’s space and try to embarrass her? Yes and yes. Is this a case where criminal sanctions would have been appropriate? No.
But wait! “This woman” did more than violate Conway’s space and try to embarrass her. She physically assaulted Conway. That’s a crime and should be treated as such.
The message sent by McCormick is clear: Montgomery County residents can assault conservatives and Trump administration officials with impunity here. There has been a wave of confrontations by leftists of such figures in the Washington, D.C. area. Montgomery County is saying that it’s okay during these confrontations to grab and shake the target.
Meanwhile, many Montgomery County residents, probably including some of its prosecutors, complain that President Trump and his administration are undermining civility.
I wonder what would happen to me if I grabbed and shook my ultra-leftist congressman Jamie Raskin. I know what would not happen. Prosecutors wouldn’t let me off the hook completely. I’d be lucky if I didn’t serve time.
But because Inabinett assaulted a political figure who is unpopular here, rather than a leftist pol or an ordinary citizen, she walks. That’s justice, Montgomery County style.