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Freddie Gray Trial: Mistrial Denied after State Fails to Disclose Evidence (Update – Prosecution rests)

Freddie Gray Trial: Mistrial Denied after State Fails to Disclose Evidence (Update – Prosecution rests)

UPDATED: State rests, Judge declines to dismiss charges, Defense’s turn tomorrow

UPDATE (2:17pm): The prosecution has rested its case, Judge Williams denied a defense request to dismiss the charges, and the court has recessed for the day. The defense will begin presenting its case to the jury tomorrow.  None of today’s testimony for the State was particularly notable.

The legal arguments remain clear, and the State’s case about weak as their refusal to release evidence to the public had suggested.

As reported by the Baltimore Sun the State’s position is:

Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow said Porter showed a “callous indifference for life” when he deviated from department policies. Defense attorneys have said other police officers routinely break such policies, but Schatzow said those officers should not be considered “reasonable.”

I’ve noted frequently in covering the Freddie Gray maelstrom that I’d yet to see any evidence that any of the officers had committed an actual act that could be the basis for the most serious of the charges brought agains them–including, in the case of van driver Officer Goodson, second-degree murder.  And now it seems we know why:  the State hasn’t any.

Also as reported by the Baltimore Sun, the defense position is:

Gary Proctor, one of Porter’s defense attorneys, said prosecutors had not proved that Porter’s failure to seatbelt or seek immediate medical attention for Gray rose to a “gross, wanton, deliberate” act necessary to prove involuntary manslaughter.

I look forward to the defense’s presentation of its case beginning tomorrow.


Judge Williams denied a mistrial yesterday in the “Freddie Gray” trial of Officer William Porter, despite the defense exposing that the State had failed to disclose evidence in its possession that Gray had a pre-existing back injury.

In addition, two of the State’s experts apparently disagree on whether it was possible that Freddie Gray managed to win a Darwin Award by causing his own ultimately fatal neck injury.

On the issue of the withheld exculpatory evidence, the defense informed Judge Williams that they had become aware that Gray had previously made statements to a Baltimore police detective about having a pre-existing back injury, and this information had been passed on to the State’s Attorneys office, as reported by WBAL television news:

The Washington Post reports on how prosecutors explained away their failure to disclose this exculpatory evidence:

Prosecutors said in court that an assistant state’s attorney had received the information previously but that the attorney did not share the information with colleagues working on the Gray case.

Earlier in the day there appeared to be a substantive disagreement between two of the State’s experts on whether or not Gray could have caused his own injury.

Medical Examiner Carol Allan testified that she believed Gray suffered his injury when he attempted to stand up in the moving van, despite being manacled at the ankles and wrists, and almost inevitably fell when unable to keep his balance.  Again from the Washington Post:

Gray, according to Allan, likely stood up in the van after he had been shackled, handcuffed and placed on his stomach in a compartment in the back. He then hit his head because of a dramatic acceleration or deceleration of the vehicle, she said, and was paralyzed from the neck or shoulders down while his ability to breathe slipped away.

The state’s next expert witness, neurosurgeon Dr. Morris Marc Soriano, however, denied there was any possibility that Gray had injured himself.  As reported in print on WBAL’s web site:

“Did Freddie Gray injure himself?” Schatzow asked.

“He could not have. It is not possible,” Soriano said.

And in WBAL’s television reportage:

Dr. Soriano also testified that Gray may not have died if he’d received more prompt medical care.  Of course, that presumes that the 2-years-on-the-job Officer Porter knew or reasonably should have known that Gray, who has a reputation for faking injuries, had suffered a life-threatening spinal injury.

Keep your eyes here late afternoon for updated coverage of today’s trial events.

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense


Attorney Andrew Branca and his firm Law of Self Defense have been providing internationally-recognized expertise in American self-defense law for almost 20 years in the form of blogging, books, live seminars & online training (both accredited for CLE), public speaking engagements, and individualized legal consultation.
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Comments

Mr. Branca, “evidence” of this nature is not admissible under the rules of Criminal Show Trial Procedure.

So the judge has laid the groundwork for appeal based on judicial error. Is that what I’d reading here?

    Estragon in reply to rorschach256. | December 8, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Irrelevant.

    Porter is actually the weakest of very weak cases. If he is acquitted and rioting happens, it sends a message to the juries for the other trials.

    It’s a Hail Mary play on the opening kickoff, but about the best chance of getting any convictions.

legacyrepublican | December 8, 2015 at 2:06 pm

Let’s see. The state of Florida hid cell phone data in the Zimmerman trail.

So, yeah, there is precedent for this kind of bad behavior on the state’s part in a show trail.

So, damn the evidence and full steam ahead. Let the trial go and just convict these innocent officers so the community feels that their brand of justice has been served.

“…Dr. Soriano also testified that Gray may not have died if he’d received more prompt medical care…”

At least the doctor did not say he *would* not have died if he had received more prompt medical care. Reading the future is hard.

“Did Freddie Gray injure himself?” Schatzow asked.
“He could not have. It is not possible,” Soriano said.

But apparantly being able to state with absolute certainty the actions of a shackled man in the back of a police van *is* something this doctor is able to do. Or at least pretend to.

It would be interesting to hear the exact line of logic that the doctor is following to explain the series of injuries (plural) that Freddie suffered, and then hear a second doctor pick those arguements apart.

    Ragspierre in reply to georgfelis. | December 8, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    Very un-catagorical statements like that by the Doc are SOOOOOOO nice to hear from an expert. It almost always can be used to impeach them to death. A good expert NEVER says “never” like that. They cannot be seen by the jury as partisans.

      TX-rifraph in reply to Ragspierre. | December 8, 2015 at 2:22 pm

      To support a conclusion of “Never” seems like a logically impossible burden. Would not the doc have to list every possible scenario (That would be burden #1) and then demonstrate that the result absolutely could not happen for each and every scenario? Working backwards from a verdict is tough to do.

        JackRussellTerrierist in reply to TX-rifraph. | December 9, 2015 at 12:50 am

        You’re right, but that logic won’t stop a jury itching to convict cops. We do not live in times of logic any longer.

          Char Char Binks in reply to JackRussellTerrierist. | December 9, 2015 at 10:47 am

          You’re right, and I thought of another reason the jury could jump to convict. I wouldn’t doubt that some of them have a prejudice against Dr. Di Maio because of Trayvon Martin.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to georgfelis. | December 8, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    Talk about poor witness prep. First of all credible medical expert witnesses don’t usually use terms like never, couldn’t, can’t. Because if being in medicine will teach you one thing for sure is that freaking anything can happen once.

    I think the doctor saying that Gary couldn’t have hurt himself is doubly stupid to me since we teach in medicine that a fall from any height greater than your own can cause sever spinal injury or death. If Gray had stood up just as the van was accelerating he could have easily hit the rear door with at least of that much force. That’s why if you fall off of a ladder and an ambulance picks you up you are getting at least neck brace and possibly a ride on the backboard.

      DaveGinOly in reply to Gremlin1974. | December 8, 2015 at 11:05 pm

      Anyone so tightly bound that he is unable to injure himself is also so tightly bound as to be secure enough to avoid injury as a passenger in a moving vehicle. Conversely, anyone so poorly secured within a vehicle as to be susceptible to injury by its normal motions is likewise so poorly secured as to be capable of injuring himself.

      The witness would have us believe that Gray was too tightly restrained to injure himself, but was somehow still so loosely restrained that the motion of the vehicle was capable of fatally injuring him. What nonsense.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Gremlin1974. | December 9, 2015 at 12:55 am

      The thing of it is, Grem, is that such absolutes are exactly what the jury might like to have to hang its conviction hat on.

What sure seems like a weak-to-non-existent case closes.

It is underwhelming, and I think the defense will now tear it to teeny, tiny pieces. Without too much effort.

two of the State’s experts apparently disagree on whether it was possible that Freddie Gray managed to win a Darwin Award by causing his own ultimately fatal neck injury.
_____________________

Reasonable doubt. If the state’s own medical expert thinks Gray may have caused his own injury, then no competent juror could conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the cops caused it. The judge should order a DV for the defense.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Observer. | December 8, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    Why are defense attorneys so shy about requesting directed verdicts? We’ve followed some egregious miscarriages of justice (and I’m talking about baseless prosecutions) here and I’m always amazed that directed verdicts are not requested when there’s such a dearth of evidence to support the charges.

    Can someone comment about this? Are attorneys just afraid of rocking the boat in courtrooms where they make their livings?

Char Char Binks | December 8, 2015 at 2:46 pm

It doesn’t take an expert to know Gray could have injured himself, but it takes an expert to lie convincingly that he couldn’t have.

So when do the riots start?

    Hey! We call them ‘Pre-Christmas Mass Shopping And Merrymaking Celebrations’ now please. All I ask is that the celebrants of this festive season take great care to photograph themselves and post said photos liberally on Facebook and Twitter, complete with names of their fellow cheery companions.

    It makes the post-festivity prosecutions so much easier.

The prosecution did not present any testimony from any of the personnel at the hospital that worked on him , Is that usual

or only in case where the defense lawyer says ” Comrade my client admits his rightest deviation tendencies and requests Comrade Stalin to show no mercy”

    Gremlin1974 in reply to dmi60ex. | December 8, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    “The prosecution did not present any testimony from any of the personnel at the hospital that worked on him , Is that usual”

    As always I am not a lawyer, however this seems evident to me. If they start bringing in Doctors and Nurses from Gray’s hospital stay what would be revealed? Think about it for a moment.

    1: That they had done surgery on Gray, during which something could have happened, I mean they were messing with his spine.

    2: The fact that Gray had a heart attack and another bout of asphyxiation while in the hospital which could have also been a factor in his death?

    The prosecution doesn’t want to just hand the defense reasonable doubt, all this would have done is help the Defense case as far as I can see.

I like the one where he says that he would have lived if he had received care sooner . Does that not describe a high percentage of people who die from an injury?

Georfelis said Hey! We call them ‘Pre-Christmas Mass Shopping And Merrymaking Celebrations’ now please. All I ask is that the celebrants of this festive season take great care to photograph themselves and post said photos liberally on Facebook and Twitter, complete with names of their fellow cheery companions.

It makes the post-festivity prosecutions so much easier.

Are we talking about the same Baltimore?

@ Andrew

Quick question: What does it take for a conviction for Porter. Do all the charges require a unanimous jury or just a majority?

Ok, one thing has been bugging me the most. How are they bringing the marsupials in and out of the court without anyone seeing the bouncing buggers?

Earlier the judge denied a motion to open Grey’s medical records.
The undiscolsed back problems that Grey had, will they open a can of worms?

The way I see the outcome is this.
If there are some SJW on the jury–guilty.
If there are some people who insist on following the law and their conscience–not guilty.
If there are some of each. Hung jury.
I figure a hung jury is the most likely outcome.

So if it is a hung jury, can the defense appeal some of the judges rulings before they retry?

Baltimore is only 10,000 more dead criminals away from becoming civilized … they should promote those cops … and YES some people do deserve to die … 🙂

Anyone If there is a conviction and appeal due to venue not changed, can the appeals court deny that and reverse on something else and we are right back in Baltimore .I know anything is possible but are there precedents for that. I ‘m thinking of what a court in the Peoples Republic of Maryland might do.

Another question. If Porter is convicted and decides to appeal the venue change ,what would the timeframe be and would it delay the other trials or would they proceed on schedule .Is that judges discretion.

Gremlin1974. how to hide the little bouncing huggers was not the big problem for Mosby – the problem was getting money to ship em here . SRB blew the budget lining Billy Murphy’s pockets

holdingmynose | December 9, 2015 at 6:43 am

A fair minded panel would weigh the evidence and arrive at a just verdict, but this is a panel of Baltimore residents who want to continue to live (both reside and survive) in Baltimore. An acquittal or failure to convict on all charges would result in another riot and probably personal reprisals against the jurors. Regardless of how good a case the defense makes I predict that the guilty verdicts will come back faster than the OJ acquittal.

    Ragspierre in reply to willow. | December 9, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Wow. If it wasn’t for half-truths, they wouldn’t have no truths at all….

    SeanInLI in reply to willow. | December 9, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    I wonder if anyone over there realizes that stuff that their readers “need” to know is largely not at issue, especially after the testimonies of the medical witnesses so far.

    Except in the court of public opinion, which Huffers and the media will be sure to use to claim funny business/ evidence of more white racism.

Allan stated that Freddie was injured between stops 2 and 4
Porter helped Gray up on the seat at stop 4 supposedly after injury . Lifting a 135 lb man that can not help himself in any way is a most arduous task .
Corrections officers are trained to drag a person out in case of a fire , taking them off a bed and on to the floor , some people can not pass that test. Especially in a small confined space . Moving a incapacitated person is very difficult . In that instance you have gravity in your favor as opposed to Porter lifting up to the bench . Porter indicated that Freddie helped himself and it was not mentioned that any difficulty was involved .. Unless Porter is extremely strong or lied it would appear Freddie was not severely injured at stop 4 . Can’t wait for defense medical experts , the trouble is we will only know from the news when the prosecution cuts a hole in their story , you have to read way down in the story for any defense info .the story i like was the headline ” I need help” (Freddie gray pleads for his life) , then 5 paragraphs down it is ” I need help and it was Freddie asking for help to get up to the bench .

Char Char thanks I’m getting old thought it was 135 but still not an easy task . In my old age it is a task to pick up my foot to tie my shoe.

New post up, folks: “Freddie Gray Trial: Famous Pathologist Vincent Di Maio term’s death an accident” https://legalinsurrection.com/2015/12/freddie-gray-trial-noted-pathologist-vincent-di-maio-grays-death-an-accident/

Porter now testifying, will have follow-up post on that, of course.

–Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

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