Trial starts for officer charged in Randallstown teen's death

Opening statements are scheduled to begin Tuesday in the trial of a Baltimore County police officer accused in the death of a Randallstown teen last summer.

A jury was selected Monday in the trial of James D. Laboard, who is accused of manslaughter in the death of Christopher Brown on June 13, 2012. The selection came after a brief motions hearing in which Laboard's lawyer said he may attempt to unseal Brown's juvenile court records.

The teen died of asphyxiation. Police said the officer and Brown fought after the officer chased down the teen. Police said Brown, 17, had been with a group of other teens who had thrown rocks at the officer's door.

Also at the motions hearing, Judge Jan Marshall Alexander denied motions by Laboard's attorneys to compel the Baltimore County Police Department to release the details of four cases in which people have died in police custody.

Alexander said there was little relevant information that applied to Laboard's case and that releasing information in those cases could affect their outcomes, including internal affairs investigations.

The state also filed a motion to allow Brown's mother, his aunt and Laboard's girlfriend to remain in the courtroom during the trial, even though the three women are expected to testify. Witnesses are usually sequestered from proceedings so as not to affect their testimony.

Alexander did not rule on that motion.

If Brown's family testifies about his character, Laboard's attorney, John A. Bourgeois, also said he planned a motion to unseal Brown's juvenile court records. According to Bourgeois, Brown had four charges against him. The resolution of those cases was not discussed, and juvenile court files are not public.

Laboard has maintained his innocence, and a union representative has said he was acting in accordance with his police training. Investigators said the officer attempted to resuscitate the teen.

The trial is scheduled to resume at 9:30 a.m. in the Baltimore County Circuit Courthouse in Towson.

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