The Freddie Gray Officers' Trial Will Start In The Fall & The Six People Involved Have Already Submitted A Plea
On Monday, the six Baltimore police officers indicted in the arrest and shooting of Freddie Gray pleaded not guilty to their various charges. The trial will begin Oct. 13 under former city prosecutor and civil rights litigator Judge Barry Williams, but because of the international attention given to the protesting around Gray's death, there will be a tangle of logistics to maneuver before the cases of Officer Caesar Goodson, Lt. Brian Rice, Sgt. Alicia White, Officer Garrett Miller, Officer William Porter, and Officer Edward Nero are addressed by the courts. So, what will happen leading up to the trial?
Monday saw a number of developments in the case, including the not guilty pleas, Williams' appointment, and the officers requesting a trial by jury. The officers entered their not guilty pleas in writing, which means that they don't have to appear in court for arraignment that was scheduled for the next week.
This case is likely to see a lot of these atypical moves. Last week prosecutors asked the judge to block the defense from selectively leaking evidence in the trial or release all of it online at once. This could be a potential fix to perceived problems that arose during the investigation into Michael Brown's death — the defense leaking evidence that the prosecution feels casts the victim in a negative light. That request is still pending.
On Friday, the defense should receive discovery material from the prosecution, including Gray's autopsy report. A motions hearing is scheduled for Sept. 2, where prosecutors and defense will meet and discuss specifics of the upcoming trial, including if any evidence should be excluded, certain people barred from testifying, or — in a completely unlikely case — dismissed altogether.
The defense lawyers are trying to get the trial moved, arguing that the officers could not get a fair trial in the city because of the protests that erupted in April. The defense attorneys filed the motion for a change of venue in May, saying that the citywide curfew created "an insurmountable prejudice" against the defendants.
Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., who faces the most severe punishment, is being charged with second-degree depraved-heart murder. That specific charge means that prosecutors must show that the suspect did something that they knew could kill and showed "extreme indifference" to the harm. Usually, prosecutors must prove that the accused intended for the victim to die.
Sgt. Alicia White, Lt. Brian Rice and Officer William Porter are charged with manslaughter, or killing without intent in the midst of an illegal act. Officers Edward Nero and Garrett Miller face the least severe charges, which include second-degree assault.
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