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Freddie Gray Tag

The Baltimore police officers who are suing State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby for maliciously investigating and defaming them when she criminally charging them over the death of Freddie Gray while he was in police custody have appealed the 4th Circuit’s dismissal of their case to the US Supreme Court, according to the Baltimore Sun. A copy of the officers' petition for certiorari to the US Supreme Court is embedded at the bottom of this post. In addition, you can find my extensive coverage of the Freddie Gray cases over at Legal Insurrection by clicking here.

It couldn't happen to a nicer person. A Federal judge has ruled that Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby may be civilly sued for malicious prosecution by the police officers she targeted following the in-custody death of Freddie Gray, reports the Baltimore Sun. Gray's demise was followed by days of rioting, looting, and arson in the City of Baltimore.  While the riots were ongoing Prosecutor Mosby announced a wide array of charges against six Baltimore officers involved in Gray's arrest, including charges as serious as murder, based largely on the flimsiest of evidence or no evidence whatever. We covered the Freddie Gray cases extensively right here at Legal Insurrection.

I have left the coverage of the prosecution of six police officers in the Freddie Gray case to Andrew Branca. He had almost 100 posts. As with the Geroge Zimmerman, Michael Dunn and other trials, Andrew did a superb job. From the start of the prosecutions in the Freddie Gray case, Andrew called BS on the charges. One of his early posts on May 1, 2015, was Freddie Gray Cops Charges – Justice or Political Theater?

This morning Maryland State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby dropped all criminal charges against the remaining "Freddie Gray" defendants, reports the Baltimore Sun. There were three trials remaining--de novo trials of Officer Garrett Miller (whose trial was scheduled to begin today) and Sergeant Alicia White, as well as a re-trial of Officer William Porter. Porter, the first officer to be tried in this series of prosecutions, had his trial end in a hung jury and was immediately scheduled for re-trial by prosecutors.

[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 defense rested yesterday in the current "Freddie Gray trial" of Baltimore Police Department Lieutenant Brian Rice, and closing arguments are scheduled for Thursday.  Given the past practice of trial judge Barry Williams a verdict in this bench trial is likely to be delivered by him no sooner than early next week (to wit, after the weekend). The regular reader of Legal Insurrection (and you'd be a fool not to be) will have noted that we haven't done as many posts on this latest "Freddie Gray trial" of Lieutenant Rice as we have of the previous failed prosecutions of Officer William Porter, Officer Edward Nero, and Officer Caesar Goodson.  The explanation for that apparent lapse is straightforward--there's little new to post about. The ongoing legal battle between the police officers' defense counsel and the State's Attorney prosecutors is reminiscent in a pathetically bizarre "Groundhog Day" fashion of the battle of Waterloo, after which the defending Duke of Wellington dismissively noted of Napoleon's attacking army, "They came on in the same old way, and we saw them off in the same old way."

The "Freddie Gray trial" of Lieutenant Brian Rice began today with opening statements and the state's first two witnesses, reports the Baltimore Sun (the tweets embedded below are also provided by Baltimore Sun reporters).  Rice has chosen a bench trial before trial Judge Barry Williams.  The last two "Freddie Gray" defendants, who also chose bench trials, were both acquitted of all charges. Although the state dropped one of the minor charges against Rice--the misconduct charge associated with the arrest in which he was not involved--they continue to pursue charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and a second misconduct in office charge.

The courts have scheduled the next trial in State Attorney's apparently pathological persecution of innocent police officers charged in the death of community drug-dealer Freddie Gray on Thursday.  This time the victim is Baltimore Police Department Lieutenant Brian Rice, the most senior of the six officers charged in Gray's death. They have charged Rice is with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, two counts of misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment. He is free on $350,000 bail.  Like every other officer charged in the case, Rice has pleaded not guilty. To date, the state has unsuccessfully tried three of the six officers in Gray's death. The first, Officer William Porter, ended in a hung jury, and scheduled to be retried. The second and third, of Officer Edward Nero and van driver Officer Caesar Goodson, were both bench trials and in both cases trial judge Barry Williams acquitted the officers of all charges. The Baltimore Sun reports that this morning Lt. Rice notified the court that he also elected a bench trial. The prosecution in these trials has been characterized by a seemingly random interchange of variable theories of the case, none of which appear supported by actual evidence. The prosecution has also repeatedly failed to meet it's discovery obligations, and has already been substantively sanctioned by Judge Williams for their repeated failure to share exculpatory and other evidence in a timely manner. These lapses include the failure to disclose evidence indicating that Gray's death was initially believed accidental by the medical examiner and not a homicide.

It wasn't supposed to be this way for State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby.  When she abruptly brought criminal charges against six Baltimore Police Officers during riots, looting, and arson following the death of community drug dealer Freddie Gray she became an immediate media darling.  Profiles in Vogue quickly followed, as well as prominent speaking engagements (some of which she used as platforms for extrajudicial commentary on the pending trials, a serious breach of ethics). Interestingly, Mosby didn't call for justice, per se.  She called for particular forms of justice.  Justice for Freddie Gray.  Justice for "the people of Baltimore" and, remarkably, "the protestors across America" (!).  She called for justice for "those that are angry, hurt, or have their own experiences of injustice at the hands of police officers."  She wrapped by calling for justice "Last, but certainly not least, to the youth of this City. I will seek justice on your behalf. This is a moment, this is your moment."

Just a quick post here to add some additional insight into the acquittal of Office Caesar Goodson, first from an experienced trial attorney in Baltimore, then from two of the Baltimore Sun reporters who have most intensively covered these "Freddie Gray" trials, and finally an editorial from the Baltimore Sun editorial board urging Mosby to reconsider these "Freddie Gray" trials.

Baltimore Criminal Defense Attorney Warren Brown

Minutes ago Judge Barry Williams, sitting in a bench trial, acquitted van driver Officer Caesar Goodson of all charges in the death of Freddie Gray, according to Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton. Freddie Gray Caesar Goodson not guilty Goodson had been charged with second-degree depraved heart murder, manslaughter, two counts of vehicular manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and misconduct in office.  He faced up to 30 years in prison. This leaves State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby with a record of 0 and 3 in the "Freddie Gray" prosecutions, following the hung jury of Officer William Porter and the acquittal Officer Edward Nero in a bench trial.

Well, well, well.  It looks like the civil suits filed against State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby (who brought the prosecution againt the officers) and Baltimore Assistant Sheriff Cogen (who swore out the charges against the officers) is beginning to bear strategic fruit, just as I'd predicted was their true immediate purpose. Today the Baltimore Sun reports that Cogen now claims in an affidavit that he had "no involvement in the investigation whatsoever." Instead, he was simply presented with purported evidence by the prosecution and told what the prosecutors had already themselves determined to be the facts of the case.  Cogen affidavit states:
I was also presented with a narrative that formed the basis of the application for statement of charges that I completed by the State's Attorney's Office.  The facts, information and legal conclusions contained within ... as well as the charges lodged against plaintiff came entirely from members of the State's Attorney's Office.

Thursday morning trial Judge Barry Williams is expected to release his bench verdict in the “Freddie Gray” trial of van driver Officer Caesar Goodson. Officer Goodson is charged with murder, multiple counts of manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. Goodson is the third of six charged officers to be tried in the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. The jury trial of Officer William Porter ended in a hung jury, and Porter is scheduled to be re-tried. The bench trial of Officer Edward Nero ended in an acquittal. As was the case with Nero, Goodson also elected to have a bench trial. The prosecution in all these cases has put forth three distinct theories of criminal liability for the charged officers: (1) Murder by failure to seatbelt; (2) Murder by failure to provide prompt medical care; (3) Murder by “rough ride.”

The defense has rested in the "Freddie Gray" trial of van driver Officer Caesar Goodson.  Goodson is charged with murder, manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment , and he is the third officer to be tried in the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody.  The jury trial of Officer William Porter ended in a hung jury, and Porter is scheduled to be re-tried.  The bench trial of Officer Edward Nero ended in an acquittal.  As was the case with Nero, Goodson also elected to have a bench trial. This morning Officer Nero testified as a defense witness in Goodson's trial.  According to reporting by the Baltimore Sun Nero testified that at the second stop of the van Gray was combative with officers, and that Nero heard what he described as "loud banging" coming from the van where Gray was placed by himself.  The Sun reports that prosecutors had few questions for Nero on cross-examination (perhaps they are still recovering from their self-inflicted cross-examination implosion yesterday).