During the past year, and particularly throughout the Christmas and New Year season, I have been deeply saddened and concerned for Marilyn and Nick Mosby and their children. Mistakes have obviously been made, and severe consequences have been endured. We watched a young, brilliant and compassionate African American woman, mother and state’s attorney endure public rebuke and shame for her misunderstandings that were determined by the court to be misdoings. And now she may actually be sentenced to prison for this first offense. We have seen this before with our African American political leaders in Baltimore. But I wonder does the punishment fit the crime?

Voters have determined the state’s attorney’s race. And Marilyn Mosby has held her head up high and arduously pled her case and should not have to be imprisoned for her offense. As a spiritual leader, I believe that justice should be tempered with mercy, and this family with young children has endured enough. And as we consider City Council President Nick Mosby, I applaud him for standing up and taking responsibility for any part in bringing pain to his family, as he has always stood up for the community.

It was Nick Mosby who led the “Ban the Box” legislation that would enable ex-offenders to not be unduly blemished and prevented from being gainfully employed because of mistakes of their past after their debt to society had been paid. Nick stood up for the community in delaying water bill increases and made every effort to protect the city’s underground conduit. Nick stood up for the community in enabling legislation to ensure that affordable housing be included in Baltimore housing development.

Should we castigate him and his family any further for their personal financial hardships that have not deterred them from serving the community? I don’t think so. I think we should stand for justice and mercy. We should not continue to allow these public servants who have fought for equality and equity for all to be overly criminalized and penalized for infractions that can be corrected in better ways. We cannot allow the court of public opinion to justify the financial indictments and convictions levied against a presidential candidate while potentially jailing and allowing prejudices to prevail over African American public officials. I wholeheartedly believe a second chance is considerable and credible in this instance.

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Donte Hickman, Baltimore

Bishop Donte Hickman is pastor of the Southern Baptist Church in Baltimore.

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