Judge Rejects Effort to Try Officers Together in Freddie Gray Death
Six officers have been charged in the death of Freddie Gray.
— -- The six Baltimore police officers charged in connection with Freddie Gray's death can have separate trials, a judge ruled today.
Deputy State’s Attorney Janice Bledsoe had argued at the pre-trial hearing today at Baltimore City Circuit Court that three of the officers should be tried together, saying they exhibited "degrees of the same breach of care."
But Judge Barry Williams agreed with the defense that evidence in one trial would not necessarily be admissible in another, concluding that trying everyone together "is not in the interest of justice."
Williams also ruled that the charges against the six police officers will not be dismissed and that State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby will not be recused from the case.
Williams denied the two defense motions. None of the six officers charged was present, only their lawyers.
Andrew Graham, who represented all six officers in the argument for dismissal of charges because of "prosecutorial misconduct," said State's Attorney Mosby, the chief prosecutor for Baltimore, "violated public conduct" and was "reckless" during her May 1 news conference about the arrests by implying guilt of the officers and discussing evidence. Mosby was present in court today but did not speak.
Graham hammered home the fact that Mosby used the phrase "no justice, no peace" -- a common protest chant in the Black Lives Matter movement -- noting that it was "tantamount to saying no conviction, no peace."
Graham also argued that Mosby discussed evidence in the case and that it wasn't her job to represent the Gray family.
Michael Schatzow, there to represent the State's Attorney's office, argued that the defense was taking Mosby's comments out of context and that she only remarked on probable cause, which was a matter of public record.
"She never expressed personal opinion of guilt," Schatzow said.
That’s when Judge Williams interrupted and rhetorically snapped, "Is it the prosecutors job to calm the city or to prosecute cases?"
Judedge Williams also dismissed the defense's motion to recuse Mosby and her office from the case. The judge said that it was "troubling and condescending" for the defense to argue that Mosby was compromised and should be recused because of her marriage to Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby.
Officers Caesar Goodson Jr., William Porter, Edward Nero and Garrett Miller, Lt. Brian Rice and Sgt. Alicia White were arrested and charged in May in relation to Gray's death. The charges are varied and include murder and involuntary manslaughter. All six have pleaded not guilty. Gray, 25, was placed under police custody in Baltimore on April 12, and he sustained a spinal injury during that time, authorities said. Gray went into a coma several days later and died a week after his arrest.
A small group of protesters gathered today outside the courthouse in downtown Baltimore and nearby streets, briefly blocking the roadway, according to the Baltimore Police Department, noting that there was one arrest during the protests.
Today's hearing may also determine whether the defendants will be tried together or separately. The trial in the death of Gray is set to begin Oct. 13.