President Trump brightened my Christmas season when he pardoned former police officer Stephanie Mohr. Now, the Washington Post and its leftist sources have brightened it even more by complaining about the pardon.
Their unhappiness makes me happy. It also tends to confirm the wisdom of Trump’s decision.
The first point to make is that the Post has a stake in the persecution of Mohr. Its sensationalized reporting led to the injustice Mohr suffered. As I explained here:
The Washington Post ran a series of articles alleging police brutality in Prince George’s County. As as a result of the Post’s series, the FBI launched an investigation that soon focused on the canine unit. The investigation led to an indictment of Mohr on federal civil rights grounds for ]a] 1995 incident. She was charged one day before the statute of limitations on her alleged offenses expired. . . .
The frenzy that followed [the Post’s reporting] apparently failed to produce any convictions other than those stemming from this one incident.
Now, Mohr, the only significant scalp taken as a result of the Post’s attack on the police, has been pardoned. No wonder the paper is unhappy.
The Post expresses its unhappiness by quoting allies in its attack on the Prince George’s County police. They claim that the successful prosecution of Mohr (it took two trials to convict her) paved the way for needed reforms.
Let’s assume for purposes of argument that it did. This doesn’t make her ten-year prison sentence just.
Executing Mohr would have sent an even more powerful message to the County’s police force than the ten-year sentence did. I doubt the Post thinks the death penalty would have been proper in a case where the alleged victim suffered only a wound requiring ten stiches.
If anything, the notion that Mohr was used as an example to achieve public policy goals (whether worthy ones or not) argues in favor of a pardon based in part on the excessive nature of her sentence.
The Post and its allies fail to dispute either of President Trump’s reasons for issuing the pardon. One reason is that Mohr “was a highly commended member of the police force prior to her prosecution.” That’s true. She received numerous commendations for apprehending and subduing criminals. Catching criminals may not matter to the Post, but for anyone who cares about public safety it’s a plus.
The other reason given for the pardon is the excessive length of Mohr’s sentence. Neither the Post nor its allies explains how it can possibly be just for Mohr to have been imprisoned for ten years for a dog bite that required ten stiches.
The Post quotes a lefty law professor who complains that the pardon sends “a message that police violence is less serious than other kinds of violence.” But the ten year sentence sent a message that violence inflicted by the police on suspected criminals will be treated more harshly than other kinds of violence.
Mohr’s sentence would be excessive even if she bore sole responsibility for the dog bite. But she did not.
According to the facts as stated by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in her case, Mohr released the dog after her training officer sought and obtained consent from the officer in charge of the scene. The training officer was acquitted. The officer in charge took a guilty plea in exchange for his testimony against Mohr and was sentenced to 15 months in prison. (Mohr’s testimony was that she released the dog because the suspect ignored repeated instructions to follow police orders. If so, she shouldn’t have been convicted of any crime.)
Thus, far from bearing sole responsibility for the dog bite, Mohr doesn’t even bear primary responsibility under the only version of the facts that renders her culpable. Clearly, then, her long sentence was a miscarriage of justice.
I’m glad President Trump did what he could to mitigate the injustice. If that makes the Post and its anti-police allies unhappy, all the better.