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Freddie Gray Trial: VERDICT! Lt. Brian Rice Acquitted on All Charges

Freddie Gray Trial: VERDICT! Lt. Brian Rice Acquitted on All Charges

After four failures to convict on any charge, will no one stop these pointless prosecutions?

[UPDATE: The official transcript of Judge Williams’ decision has been embedded below. Thanks to commenter amwick.]

Like a Baltimore State’s Attorney version of the movie “Groundhog Day,” the fourth of the Freddie Gray trials has once again failed to achieve a conviction on even a single charge, according to Baltimore Sun reporters Kevin Rector and Justin Fenton:

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 10.37.54 AM

This time Lt. Brian Rice was acquitted of charges involuntary manslaughter, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. An assault-related charge of misconduct-in-office was dropped by prosecutors at the start of the trial and a charge of second-degree assault was dropped by Circuit Judge Barry Williams after the state rested.

Previous Freddie Gray trials have resulted in one hung jury in the trial of Officer William Porter, and two bench trial acquittals in the cases of Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson.  Still awaiting trial are Officer Garrett Miller and Sergeant Alicia White.  State prosecutors have also scheduled a re-trial of Officer Porter.

The state’s theory of the case has only grown weaker and more laughable with each successive trial, and there is no reason to believe that the prospects for conviction will be any greater in those trials still to come than they have been previously.

Indeed, one cannot help but wonder whether State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby has some motive other than criminal justice in persevering in her prosecutions of these officers when the overwhelming weight of the evidence not only indicates they did nothing criminal but that they their conduct was clearly that of reasonable officers on the scene.

Legal Insurrection has covered all the Freddie Gray trials in depth, and our prior posts can most conveniently be found by clicking here.

More details to follow on Judge Williams’ acquittal of Lt. Brian Rice as they become available.

UPDATE:  As promised, here is the official transcript of Judge Williams’ decision acquitting Lt. Rice:

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

[Featured image: Baltimore Sun]

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stevewhitemd | July 18, 2016 at 10:44 am

Certainly no reader of LI will be surprised by this verdict.

Thank you Andrew for your superb reporting/analysis as usual.

Only one question remains: will Mosby now call it a day?

    great unknown in reply to stevewhitemd. | July 18, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Why should Mosby call it a day? Further persecutions cost her nothing personally, and who knows, she might get lucky with one.

    Because it’s embarrassing to her, you say? Liberals, and particularly liberal political vermin, have no sense of shame.

    The civil suits against her, on the other hand, might – and hopefully will – hurt.

      Speaking of no sense of shame, today is the anniversary of the murder of Mary Jo Kopechne by the liberal lion, Ted Kennedy.

        Walker Evans in reply to gbear. | July 18, 2016 at 8:45 pm

        To keep the record straight, two people were murdered that day: Mary Jo Kopechne and Teddy’s unborn child.

      Mosby SHOULD call it a day, because of the civil cases hanging over her head. Every additional trial simply makes the plaintiff’s case against her stronger. Prosecutorial misconduct is not restricted to bringing the charges, but to the entire prosecutorial process.

        DaveGinOly in reply to Mac45. | July 19, 2016 at 12:42 am

        Progressives are agenda-driven, rather than results-driven. The struggle alone is the objective. Results would be nice, but are not required.

      phiremin in reply to great unknown. | July 18, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      You are right. While she has no case and seems to be embarrassing herself and her office, many liberals see her as a hero for trying and a “corrupt system” responsible for letting off the officers (conveniently ignoring the part about a black judge with a career in prosecuting cops in the Justice Department).
      I think it was the LA Times that made an argument about the trials must move forward. They have pretty much abandoned any notion that the officers are actually guilty of anything and instead are focusing on “social justice” via punishing through the process.

        Eastwood Ravine in reply to phiremin. | July 19, 2016 at 2:38 am

        At this point, couldn’t the other two cases ask for dismissal, especially if Mosby is just using the trial process as a method of punishment. Not only that, for her to walk away would be an admission of defeat, especially in the eyes of the SJWs. Even if she knows they’re not going to win, Mosby has backed herself into a corner she can’t get out of.

    Boston College Law School more than thrilled on the continuing successes of their most famous AA graduate (who would never have been admitted if real standards applied).

legacyrepublican | July 18, 2016 at 10:49 am

Spun headline for the biased media to use: Officer found guilty of doing his job right and legally.

The political climate won’t let her drop all of the other cases. #BLM and other hate groups would stage riots that would make the last one look like a peaceful protest march.

I find this all quite puzzling. Ethical prosecutors will not bring a criminal case to trial unless they believe there is a reasonable chance of obtaining a conviction.

    Anchovy in reply to legalbeagle. | July 18, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Ha ha ha ha…. you said “ethical”.

    Observer in reply to legalbeagle. | July 18, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Ethical prosecutors won’t, but Marilyn Mosby is anything but ethical, and she’s really not even a prosecutor (despite having been elected as State’s Attorney in MD). Mosby spent a few years as a civil lawyer, working for an insurance company. She had zero qualifications for the State’s Attorney position, and was elected only because of her skin color.

      Paul in reply to Observer. | July 18, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      That and the fact that, were she to take that entitled sneer off her face, she is really very attractive. She’s got the Hot Privilege.

Does Porter have to have a trial by jury or can he switch to the judge?

    counsel in reply to Julian. | July 18, 2016 at 11:10 am

    A mistrial is similar to a baseball game that was started and was postponed by rain. Unless Maryland’s rules of criminal procedure differ markedly from other jurisdictions, Porter will be able to let the judge serve as the trier of fact.

    Milhouse in reply to Julian. | July 18, 2016 at 11:36 am

    It’s a new trial. Under MD law every defendant has the right to choose between a jury trial and a bench trial, and neither the judge nor the prosecution get a say in the matter.

Brendon Carr | July 18, 2016 at 11:00 am

Mosby is going to stay in that job until she is carried out in handcuffs. She’s the highest-paid public employee in the City of Baltimore at US$240,000 a year. Seeing the glory in which Mosby has covered herself in the handling of the Freddie Gray trials, what law firm would ever hire her? There is none. Creatures like the imbecile Marilyn Mosby only get by because of black voters’ bottomless appetite to be abused by charlatans.

    NavyMustang in reply to Brendon Carr. | July 18, 2016 at 11:16 am

    Oh, yeah. For further examples of Mosby like civil servants, I present “servants” like Rep Corinne Brown of FL, Cynthia McKinney of GA (thankfully booted out of office), and Rep Sheila Jackson Lee. I’d say that all three are dumber than a box of rocks, but that’s an insult to rocks and boxes.

    rokiloki in reply to Brendon Carr. | July 18, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    remember, Hillary Clinton was fired from her law firm for blatant lies. Yet here she is, a multi-multi-millionaire running for president.

    Mosby, no doubt, has similar political aspirations. As long as she remains a democrat, her questionable ethics will not be an issue for her. Plus, unlike Hillary, Mosby is black. She has the gender card AND the race card to play. If she succeeds, she’ll credit her own abilities. If she doesn’t succeed, she can blame sexism and racism and then land a cushy, high-paying job at the DNC or in the next democratic Administration.

    Mosby’s sjw activism will always benefit her and give her an advantage over someone with integrity.

      Hanzo in reply to rokiloki. | July 18, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      Not sure if you knew this, but each poster can only vote 1 time. Full derp.

        Ragspierre in reply to Hanzo. | July 18, 2016 at 4:59 pm

        Confessing you have tried…oh, GAWD…how you’ve TRIED…!!!

        Poor lil’ thing. You won’t last here much longer.

      Milhouse in reply to rokiloki. | July 18, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      Um, Clinton was never fired from any law firm.

      I’ve never even heard of any rumor that she had ever been fired from any law firm. There was a rumor doing the rounds that she’d been fired from the Watergate inquiry, but it had no basis in fact. The person who made this claim was never her boss, and couldn’t have fired her even if he’d wanted to.

        Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | July 18, 2016 at 6:53 pm

        To whichever numbskull downvoted that, I dare you to name the law firm she was fired from. If you have a problem dealing with facts then you shouldn’t be here.

Judges send signals by very subtle means (the smart ones, anyhow).

Judge Williams sent a powerful one when he dropped that charge, which was a departure from his previous handling of the cases before him.

I dunno, but my sense of the state’s prosecution of this case was that all the gas had left the bag, and they were essentially going through the motions.

    counsel in reply to Ragspierre. | July 18, 2016 at 11:12 am

    It seems unalterably foolish to try the same facts before the same trier of fact and expect a different outcome.

      Ragspierre in reply to counsel. | July 18, 2016 at 11:18 am

      Tru dat! I seem to recall a wise old saying about beating a dead horse. Eventually, you just get covered in offal. Which is where the state is about now.

    Stan25 in reply to Ragspierre. | July 18, 2016 at 11:30 am

    You mean crashing like the Hindenburg.

      Ragspierre in reply to Stan25. | July 18, 2016 at 11:33 am

      More like a whoopee-cushion…

        Hanzo in reply to Ragspierre. | July 18, 2016 at 12:14 pm

        Hey Rags, I wasn’t on all weekend, I do have a life, but I did reply to you in the Trump logo thread. If you would have actually read kondor’s remarks perhaps you wouldn’t have made such a fool of yourself, but ….


        Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | July 18, 2016 at 12:37 pm

        Three things…

        1. nope, you STILL don’t know what a “straw man fallacy” is; it has three simple elements which you STILL cannot name

        2. you use the fallacy of a resort popular opinion

        3. your a trolling punk who needs to go back to dead threads.

        Punking you has been a pure pleasure.

          rokiloki in reply to Ragspierre. | July 18, 2016 at 1:34 pm

          LOLI, ‘m guessing every one of your down-thumbs is from Hanzo.

          Hanzo in reply to Ragspierre. | July 18, 2016 at 4:20 pm

          Uh, ragamuffin …. Fairly easy rags, he tried to refute what I said by alluding I was a Trump supporter (THE ARGUMENT WASN’T ABOUT BEING A TRUMP SUPPORTER, OR NOT) by saying Trump was/is my favorite person in the world, or words to that effect. I never said anything of the sort, therefore – A straw man is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while actually refuting an argument that was not advanced by that opponent. HE TRIED TO MAKE HIS REFUTATION BY STATING I WAS A TRUMP SUPPORTER, YET THAT WASN’T WHAT IT WAS ABOUT. Capisce? Sorry for making you look stupid, once again.

          Man, your ego won’t let you comprehend simple, in your face, truth. Your “reputation” (all ego), as you perceive it will not let you see truth or admit you’re wrong, on a trivial matter. By the way, the up/down vote was against you, 22-6. You are pathetic. You’ve “punked” no one, save yourself.

          As for the rest of your slurs and blather …. pfffft.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | July 18, 2016 at 4:48 pm

          Dear Punk Ass Bitch:

          ENNNNNNNAAAAGH…!!! WRONG again. A “straw man” fallacy consists of three elements, which YOU STILL DON’T comprehend.

          It is NOT restricted, as you FALSELY claim, to a “defensive” fallacy.

          You are STILL a punk assed troll, who INSISTS on being punked some more.

          Anyone can look up the definitions and structure of the fallacy, and you STILL can’t get it right.

          I’ll do you some more if you just insist, but you should just put some ice on that…

Park Mosby in a corner and let her clock run out.

I was talking to one of the security guards at my job who happened to be black.

He said that in order lessen the tension, all the powers that be need to do is indict the cops who did the shooting in LA and MN. Didn’t seem to get that you have to have evidence and vet that evidence through the process before you can indict. This catastrophe is a perfect example of what happens when that process is short circuited.

I’ve also heard from other acquaintances who are black that the B-more cops should not have been allowed to have a bench trial. They should have been made to answer to a jury of their “peers” (read as “avengers”). These people just don’t understand our judicial process not one whit.

And that is a lot of the problem. People believe that if they don’t get the result they want, then they are being discriminated against, that they deserve to be able to ignore our established rules of justice.


    Char Char Binks in reply to NavyMustang. | July 18, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Justice isn’t about getting what you want; it’s about getting what you deserve. Who wants that?

    Milhouse in reply to NavyMustang. | July 18, 2016 at 11:41 am

    In most jurisdictions a defendant can ask for a bench trial, but he doesn’t have the right to one. Usually both the judge and the prosecution have the right to insist on a jury trial, if they believe that justice would be better served that way. MD is different; in MD it’s entirely up to the defendant, and the judge’s only role is to make sure the defendant understands what he’s doing.

    TX-rifraph in reply to NavyMustang. | July 18, 2016 at 11:55 am

    “…you have to have evidence…”

    When you have the interacting groups identified (police and blacks), the assigned narratives substitute for evidence. The MN and LA cops are guilty by definition. Thus, one only needs to use the law as a weapon to inflict the proper punishment “legally.” The view from the left is delusional.

    Ronin0985 in reply to NavyMustang. | July 18, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    Heh, they sound like 95% of the commentariat on the “holy troika” of Leftist “news” sites.

Looks like Mosby is building her creds as Attorney General in a Hillary administration.

After Holder and Lynch she would be a perfect candidate.

    Ragspierre in reply to Anchovy. | July 18, 2016 at 11:31 am

    I know you’re being sardonic, but not so much.

    Holder and Lynch were actually effective lawyers. I doubt anyone could say the same about Mosby.

      Valerie in reply to Ragspierre. | July 18, 2016 at 11:36 am

      Holder testified before Congress that he did not read his own internal mail.

        rokiloki in reply to Valerie. | July 18, 2016 at 1:35 pm

        Maybe he was covering for Hillary… “Nope, I never received any classified emails from her!”

      Milwaukee in reply to Ragspierre. | July 18, 2016 at 2:52 pm

      An acquaintance of mine was part of the cleaning up of the Silverado Savings and Loan mess. He said the easiest loans to clean up were the ones done by the crooked loan officers. They were both crooked and competent, their paperwork, while with lies and omissions, were complete and detailed. The honest loan officers tended to be incompetent, and they frequently failed to file out every form as needed. So, there is something to Holder and Lynch being competent and corrupt. Mosby is truly corrupt and incompetent, and won’t be able to lie her way out of this. She isn’t as good a liar as Former Secretary Clinton.

    great unknown in reply to Anchovy. | July 18, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Supreme Court nominee?

    Sarcasm is so hard to tell from prophecy these days.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Anchovy. | July 18, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Please! I’ve had enough sleepless nights and strange dreams lately; I don’t need that to think about!

    And for those who pooh-pooh the idea, this is something I’d not put past Mrs. Clinton. Talk about a way for her to jam a stick in the eye of both law enforcement and the law abiding citizen.

“Marilyn Mosby. Paging Ms. Marilyn Mosby. Please pick up the white courtesy phone. You have a call from a Mr. Michael Nifong. Paging Ms. Mosby!”

Prosecuting all of these cases to the bitter end will have the virtue of demonstrating that the local prosecutors left no stone unturned, and that the full record has been laid out. I believe this will be Mosby’s ultimate position.

This does not excuse the local prosecutors from the consequences of a civil suit for malicious prosecution. Prosecution without a reasonable basis, for political purposes, is malicious, regardless of the existence of “larger purposes,” such as an attempt to prevent riots.

Given that the City authorized 6M for Freddie’s family, I submit the harassment of the officers ought to be worth 6M each. Perhaps that award will deter future grandstanding by the local prosecutors in other cities, if not by the US President.

Common Sense | July 18, 2016 at 11:51 am

Andrew thanks for the great coverage of the Freddie Gray case!

How long before the left starts attacking Judge Williams as a sell-out or Uncle Tom or whatever? The left will not tolerate this assault on the narrative.

“Wow, I am just so surprised”..said no one.

Someone should pay for what this has done to these men and women’s lives. I mean, even if they were able to stay at the Baltimore police force, who would wan to after this, this means a total disruption of their lives.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to Gremlin1974. | July 18, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    I wonder if there is a variation on a theme of witness protection, where they can get a change of name, and then get work at LEOs in another jurisdiction?

      Gremlin1974 in reply to The Friendly Grizzly. | July 18, 2016 at 8:05 pm

      Well they could legally change their names, but as far as I know there is no kind of program to help protect them. Frankly if it were me, my family would already be out of the area.

These officers were smart going for judge trials instead of jury trials. There are some activist judges out there, but not many are willing to risk their judicial career on a controversial ruling.

I think the prosecutor would have had a much better chance if they had gotten jurors. Perhaps Mosby expected jury trials and thought a few activists could sway (intimidate?) the others. But fortunately, that didn’t happen.

    Anonamom in reply to rokiloki. | July 18, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    Absolutely. I was a prosecutor for 17 years. If I were guilty of a crime, I would want a jury; if I were innocent, I would want a court trial.

Richard Aubrey | July 18, 2016 at 2:47 pm

Back in the–fortunately gone–day I occasionally dealt with lefty activists. Some were manipulators, some the manipulated.
In discussing various items with the latter, they’d nod or otherwise accept the facts of the case and then reply by saying something like. “That’s not my truth.”
I wondered if there were some kind of mental process in which they could, on some level, actually believe that which, on another level they had the information to know was false. Or was that simply a defiant statement that they knew better and were going to continue lying.
Certainly, the “hands up, don’t shoot” lie shows both.
And “swiftboating” has been turned over one hundred eighty until its definition insists on “debunked”. So maybe it works.
Thing is, if you really believe something, then a result which contradicts it seems corrupt.

State’s Attorney “with a depraved heart” Marilyn Mosby

Mosby’s “rough ride” theory has taken a turn for the worse.

I love this line: “This Court finds that a police wagon or van constitutes a motor vehicle [duh] and that the reckless endangerment statute would prohibit prosecution of conduct arising from the use of a motor vehicle in this case, a police transport wagon. This court finds that the Reckless Endangerment charge should fail as a matter of law because the alleged reckless conduct is failing to seat belt Mr. Gray in a vehicle.”

In other words, utterly incompetent lawyering by the prosecution. I wonder, though, if the statute simply doesn’t apply, why the judge didn’t dismiss this charge in the first place, as he did the assault charge.

Gremlin1974 | July 18, 2016 at 8:27 pm

After reading the judges opinion it would seem that the prosecution has pretty much lost all its possible arguments against all of the officers, not that it will keep them from continuing on.

Perhaps somewhat oblique to topic, but this is a fantastic article from a surprising source:

    Gremlin1974 in reply to robert_g. | July 19, 2016 at 1:23 am

    Great article other than the authors misunderstanding of Aikido being a martial art designed to “Not hurt your attacker”. Though I do think that Aikido would be a great art for cops to study.

      Char Char Binks in reply to Gremlin1974. | July 19, 2016 at 8:11 pm

      Cops should study aikido? Why not tai chi, or yoga? Why not Turtle School martial arts?They could learn Goku’s 10x Kamehameha!

meanwhile the lives, careers, families of 6 police are ruined for Mosley’s political posturing

The judge could just declare at the outset of the trial the prosecutor has no case, correct?

    Twanger in reply to Arminius. | July 22, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    It’s probably a matter of how much “Uncle Tom”-ishness the judge wants to get on him.
    He would clearly collect a lot more of it if he simply dismissed the cases “out of hand.”
    If he goes through the process and makes the prosecution look silly (he has) then the amount of angst he will receive from the SJWs will be less, and perhaps even focused elsewhere…