Who Is The Freddie Gray Judge? Barry Glenn Williams Is More Than Qualified To Preside Over The High-Profile Case

The six Baltimore police officers handed charges relating to the death of Freddie Gray in April will finally appear in court on Wednesday. The pretrial hearing will determine whether the officers charged in Gray's death will be tried together or separately, and it will also decide on two key motions — one of which could dismiss the entire case altogether. The case is not only complicated, but very high-profile, requiring a seasoned and competent judge to preside over the proceedings. So who is the judge in the Freddie Gray hearing? Barry Glenn Williams is more than qualified for the job.

Update: On Wednesday morning, Judge Williams refused to dismiss changes against the officers and refrained from asking Marilyn Mosby to recuse herself, as was requested by the defense.

As the city of Baltimore braces itself for protests, the six charged officers — Caesar R. Goodson Jr., Garrett E. Miller, Edward M. Nero, William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice, and Alicia D. White — and their defense attorneys will face prosecutors and Judge Williams for their first hearing, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday at the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. Judge Williams will hear arguments on two key motions from the defense, who are seeking to dismiss the entire case altogether, claiming prosecutorial misconduct on the part of Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, or at least that both she and her prosecutors be recused from the case. Both the defense and prosecution will deliberate over whether the officers will be tried together or separately.

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Given the legal complexities and racial implications attached to the case, Judge Williams has his work cut out for him. Thankfully, he's had more than enough qualifying experience. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1984 with a B.A. in history, Williams, 53, pursued his law degree at the University of Maryland School of Law, and was admitted to the Maryland Bar and the Pennsylvania Bar in 1987, followed by the D.C. Bar in 1990.

Williams started his legal career as a law clerk to Judge Arrie W. Davis in the Baltimore City Circuit Court from 1987 to 1988, then to Judge Robert M. Bell in the Court of Special Appeals from 1988 to 1989. After receiving a special commendation for outstanding service in the civil rights division in 2001, Williams was the special litigation counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice's civil rights division from 2002 to 2005, receiving a Meritorious Award from the Justice Department in 2004. In December 2005, Williams became the associate judge at the Baltimore City Circuit Court, a position he currently holds.

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In his 10 years at the Baltimore City Circuit Court, Williams has held several concurrent important positions, including chair of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council from 2012 to 2014, member of the Judiciary Task Force on Pretrial Confinement and Release from 2013 to 2014, and Judge-in-Charge of the Baltimore City Circuit Court's criminal division from 2012 to this January.

For what could be a landmark case in a social climate where tensions over police discrimination have reached a boiling point, it's reassuring to know that the Freddie Gray case is in good hands with Judge Williams.