Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge John Nugent delivered sanctions against Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby Aug. 12 for violating a gag order relating to 32-year-old Keith Davis Jr.’s newest homicide trial. An order that her office had requested.
Mosby was fined $1,500 and subjected to a stricter gag order for constructive civil contempt because of a July 5 social media comment on a post from the Instagram account Baltimore Murder Ink, which called for Davis’ acquittal.
The new gag order created today prohibits Mosby from making any public comment on the case for the next 90 days, and Judge Nugent emphasized this new order only applies to Mosby, but the original order still stands for other involved parties.
Mosby violated the order when she replied to a commenter on the post about Davis’ innocence, saying Mosby lost their vote in the upcoming primary. “You really shouldn’t believe everything you read,” Mosby said.
Davis’ defense team, led by Deborah Levi, said this comment was influential to the public and hurts Davis’ presumption of innocence and the right to a fair trial, especially because Davis doesn’t have internet access.
“She made her comments when Mr. Davis could not respond,” Levi said.
Mosby made comments about the case during an interview with WYPR, as the gag order was being drafted, and brought more media attention to the case, Levi said, gesturing to a gallery packed with reporters.
“This case is at the center of the collective gaze of Baltimore,” Levi said, referring to language in the prosecution’s initial request for the gag order.
Davis himself chimed in through Levi, who called him “wise,” and asked for a public statement about his presumption of innocence from Mosby to help erase the damage caused by her previous public statement against him.
The prosecution said Mosby’s Instagram comment was in response to her losing the vote, not anything pertaining to Davis’ case. The prosecutor also said Mosby has been maligned by the media and argued that was a possible reason for the comment.
Judge Nugent considered the positions and ruled the WYPR comments didn’t violate the order because it didn’t exist in writing at the time, meaning Mosby couldn’t be aware of its specific nature in this case.
However, Judge Nugent found the Instagram comment to be a willful violation of the gag order and imposed the $1,500 fine if she violates the stricter gag order in the next 90 days.
After this favorable ruling for the defense, Baltimore Witness spoke with Davis’ wife, who said her husband is innocent and is a victim in this case because of his ongoing incarceration since 2015 and his shooting at the hands of police.
Davis has been incarcerated since 2015 in connection with the shooting death of Kevin Jones. He’s charged with second-degree murder and use of a firearm in a crime of violence. He has had four previous trials that have either ended with hung juries or overturned convictions and is scheduled for his next trial in May of 2023.
Levi said, during the hearing, that Davis was only the second person in U.S. history to be tried five times for a single crime.
Davis’ wife said she’s grateful for the support of so many citizens who attend the trials, heard the evidence, and formed the opinion that Davis is innocent.
“I think it’s been very uplifting,” she said. “It makes us feel like we’re not alone, it makes you feel like you’re not yelling into the wind,” Davis’ wife said.
A large crowd of supporters cheered for Davis as he was taken outside the courthouse to be transported back to jail.
“I love you! You’re almost home,” his wife yelled.Follow this case