Prosecutors, attorneys in Freddie Gray case due back in court this week

The Baltimore Sun

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are scheduled to return to court this week in the cases of six Baltimore police officers charged in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray.

What is happening this week?

Judge Barry Williams has scheduled hearings for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday to address motions filed in all of the officers' cases. His order did not specify which motions would be discussed.

However, there are important motions that must be resolved before the officers' trials, the first of which is scheduled for Nov. 30. Williams, for example, must rule on defense motions to suppress statements that five officers provided to police investigators, on the grounds they were improperly obtained because the officers were not informed of their rights. Officer Caesar R. Goodson did not provide a statement.

The hearings will be the fourth and fifth times attorneys in the case will appear before Williams in open court.

What has been decided so far?

Williams has made several key rulings in earlier hearings.

On Sept. 29, he set trial dates for the six officers. The trial Officer William G. Porter is scheduled to begin Nov. 30. Following Porter's trial, Officer Goodson's trial will begin Jan. 6; Sgt. Alicia D. White on Jan. 25; Officer Garrett E. Miller on Feb. 9; Officer Edward M. Nero on Feb. 22; and Lt. Brian W. Rice on March 9.

Those trial dates could change.

Prosecutors have said Porter is a "necessary and material witness" in their cases against Goodson Jr. and Sgt. Alicia D. White, and therefore must be tried before them.

Williams also ruled against a defense motion to move the trials of the officers out of Baltimore. Williams, however, left open the possibility that the trials could be moved if an impartial jury panel can't be found.

Williams also denied defense motions to dismiss charges against the officers and to recuse Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby's office from the case.

He also ruled that the six officers would be tried separately.

Where will the hearings be held?

Baltimore Circuit Court, Courthouse East, 111 N. Calvert St., courtroom 234.

Did any of the officers attend any of the hearings?

All six officers appeared at the courthouse Tuesday. Five of the six officers were in court for the Sept. 29 scheduling hearing— their first public appearance. Porter waived his right to appear.

How did we get to this point?

Gray, 25, was arrested on April 12 and suffered a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody. He died a week later. His funeral on April 27 was followed by citywide rioting, looting and arson. On May 1, Mosby announced criminal charges against the six officers from the stairs of the Baltimore War Memorial. Later that month, the six officers were indicted by a grand jury.

What are the charges against the officers?

Goodson, the driver of the van used to transport Gray, is charged with second-degree depraved-heart murder, the most serious charge among the six officers. He also is charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault, two counts of vehicular manslaughter and misconduct in office.

Three officers, Porter, Sgt. White and Lt. Rice face involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office charges. Officers Nero and Miller are charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

Who is the judge?

Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams, 53 has been an associate judge with the Baltimore City Circuit Court since December 2005. Williams holds a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Virginia and a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.

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