Twenty-one year old Baltimore, Maryland resident Tyree Threatt was picked out of photo lineup and arrested for armed robbery. Bail was set at $75,000, which he could not afford. The public defender’s investigation uncovered that at the time of the robbery Mr. Threatt was in prison on a separate charge (which was soon after dropped). Shouldn’t that fact have exonerated Mr. Threatt and lead to his release? Not in this case.
According to the August 13, 2014 Baltimore Sun article, Man charged with street robbery that happened while he was in jail, Mr. Threatt’s lawyer, public defender Nicholas Cooksley, produced the jail records to the court seeking to have Mr. Threatt released. The prosecutor argued that the issue should be addressed at trial, and the judge, while reducing bail by $25,000, did not release Mr. Threatt.
It wasn’t until the Baltimore Sun staff questioned prosecutors and the police that the charges against Mr. Threatt were finally dropped and he was released from jail. Mr. Threatt’s attorney, public defender Garland Sanderson, who handled the initial appearance, summed up what the accused face in the arrest phase of the criminal justice system:
Our system of justice depends on police and state’s attorneys fully investigating cases before someone is put in jail, rather then [sic] an innocent person having to prove their innocence from a jail cell.
LPR applauds the efforts of Messrs. Cooksley and Sanderson, and public defenders everywhere who seek to ensure justice for the accused. It is unfortunate that despite these efforts, and in the face of irrefutable proof, justice is not always just – even when the lack of justice involves incarceration.