Maryland Court of Appeals delays the trials of defendant police officers in Freddie Gray murder case

Maryland’s highest court, which is called the Court of Appeals, has entered an order staying (delaying) the trials of the remaining Baltimore police officers charged with various crimes for the death of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died from spinal injuries that he sustained in a police van while being transported to jail. He was shackled and handcuffed, but not belted in as required by police regulation. The court stayed the trials in order to consider whether the prosecution can call Officer William Porter to testify against the officers in their separate trials. Under normal circumstances, no one would seriously contend that the prosecution could not call him as a witness. However, these are not normal circumstances for the simple reason that Porter is a defendant who has a Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. Porter has already been tried, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict. His case has been rescheduled for trial.

The prosecution had hoped to convict Porter and then use him to testify against the other defendants. He shackled Gray and placed him in the van, so he is an essential witness to establish some basic facts about who did what to Gray. The mistrial complicated that strategy. To get around his Fifth Amendment claim while preserving their option to retry him, the prosecution granted him use immunity for his testimony. That means they agreed not to use anything he said wile testifying at the trials of his codefendants.

Defense counsel predictably objected. The judge ruled that the prosecution could call Porter as a witness against some but not all of the defendants. The prosecution and defense are appealing that order. Some defendants are also arguing that their rights to a speedy trial are being violated by the detour through the appellate courts.

And there you have it.

That is all, except you can go here to read more details.

7 Responses to Maryland Court of Appeals delays the trials of defendant police officers in Freddie Gray murder case

  1. racerrodig says:

    For some reason, I have a bad feeling with this one despite the facts and there being multiple defendants. For the life of me I was sure Porter would be convicted.

    Certainly a hung trial is better than a Fogenization, but the evidence is, to me, pretty damning. None of the defendants can even go the “I wuz so scared……I thought I was gonna…….(insert preposterous crap here)…..I had to…..”

    They crippled Gray before he was even in the van…….God only knows what they did to him in the van. We know they didn’t seat belt him in, but what they DID and what the DIDN’T do are completely different.

    • I also was surprised by the hung jury. I don’t know what the split was. Since the case was so strong and the prosecution decided to retry it, I believe the jury may have voted 11-1 or 10-2 for conviction, probably due to 1 or 2 stealth jurors determined to derail the case against a cop. Unfortunately, that threw the prosecution off-stride and now they are trying to switch to a Plan B that they didn’t believe would happen.

      Goes to show the importance of jury selection, which is something prosecutors are not good at. Examples: GZ’s trial and the first Dunn trial.

      • roderick2012 says:

        Examples: GZ’s trial and the first Dunn trial.

        I still don’t understand the first Dunn trial.

        Did Angela Cory think she could throw the Dunn trial like her minions threw the GZ trial when there were independent eye witnesses and surveillance video of the shooting?

        I knew there was something wrong when Allan Dershowitz never divulged the contents of his conversation with Corey.

    • roderick2012 says:

      What struck me was his defense that he didn’t follow procedure and the fact that he had witnesses who were also police officers who boldly opined that they regularly didn’t follow procedures all of this while the DOJ is investigating the Baltimore PD.

      Talk about chutzpah or they know that the DOJ is a paper tiger.

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