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Freddie Gray's lawyer just wants to get his case closed

In a decade working as a public defender, Anne Stewart-Hill said she's had more than a dozen clients die.

Her latest was Freddie Gray.

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Now she's trying to get a drug case against him closed. That typically means taking a death certificate to court and telling a judge that the defendant has died.

Or prosecutors can drop the case themselves. And the state's attorney's office says that's what it intends to do.

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But in Gray's case it might not happen anytime soon. The next scheduled court date is May 21. And so at least as far as the file for case No. 115014015 in Baltimore Circuit Court is concerned, Freddie Gray is not yet dead.

Stewart-Hill said the typical process seems redundant in this case.

"In this case, I don't think anyone disputes that Mr. Gray is deceased," she said.

The allegations in the drug case are straightforward, according to Stewart-Hill. In late December, an officer in a covert spot watched what looked to him like a drug deal involving Gray. But when officers searched him they found only money, no drugs.

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Police linked a stash in a nearby alley to Gray and brought a felony charge. Stewart-Hill said the case looked weak, and she was eager to fight for Gray.

"He just wanted his day in court," she said. She said Gray always came across to her as polite and helpful.

"He just seemed like a perfectly normal young guy, didn't have an attitude about anything," she said.

Now Gray, who died in police custody Sunday, a week after he was arrested in West Baltimore, won't have the chance to have the allegations tried before a jury. So Stewart-Hill said she wants the case closed.

"I'd like to help in whatever way I can and just to do something for him," she said. "This is the only thing I can do."

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