Prosecutors want subpoenas quashed in Freddie Gray case

Baltimore prosecutors say their job is to "advocate for Freddie Gray as a victim"

Prosecutors in the case of the six police officers charged in the arrest and transport of Freddie Gray are asking a judge to quash subpoenas that compel State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby and other prosecutors to appear as witnesses at the first court hearing in the case.

In a court filing, they call the subpoenas sought by defense attorney Catherine Flynn "improper" and say they are part of an ongoing attempt to "bury the prosecution in frivolous" filings.

The subpoenas obtained by Flynn, who represents Officer Garrett E. Miller, require Mosby and other prosecutors and investigators to attend the Sept. 2 motions hearing as witnesses in the case.

That could cause key prosecutors to be sequestered from the proceedings. A subpoena was also sent to the state medical examiner who performed Gray's autopsy.

Gray, 25, died in April after suffering a severe spinal cord injury in police custody. Six officers have been charged with violations that range from misconduct in office to second-degree murder. All have pleaded not guilty.

In asking Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams to revoke the subpoenas, prosecutors expanded on their responses to past defense allegations, including a claim that prosecutors steered police away from looking into whether Gray had a history of "crash-for-cash" schemes to injure himself in hope of collecting settlements.

Prosecutors said they "wanted to keep police focused on uncovering what happened to Mr. Gray inside the transportation van and not on what may have happened to Mr. Gray in some past incident," which they say requires no one to testify to explain.

"One of the state's legal obligations is to advocate for Mr. Gray as a victim and uncover how he was injured, not to stand blinded by the blue lights and conclude that he was to blame for his own fatal injuries because of some prior accusation of self-injury in police custody," prosecutors wrote.

They also addressed the issue of the knife Gray was carrying when he was arrested. Police have said it was a switchblade, which is illegal under city law. Prosecutors said they inspected the knife and determined it was not a switchblade.

The sides have sparred over whether prosecutors wrongly looked to state law when determining if the knife was illegal.

Prosecutors said the "more relevant matters" were "Gray's injuries and what the defendants did to prevent and care for those injuries."

They also addressed again a defense accusation that either prosecutors have failed to turn over evidence from their independent investigation, or that "there was no investigation."

Prosecutors said the "mere fact that the State's Attorney's Office conducted an independent investigation of the events underlying these cases prior to charging them does not transform attorneys in that office into witnesses subject to being subpoenaed."

They said such efforts are typical of every case and produce material that would unnecessarily overwhelm the discovery process of turning over evidence.

Prosecutors said no witnesses are scheduled to testify at the Sept. 2 motions hearing in the case, and that subpoenaing witnesses to a hearing where they would not be permitted to testify is "beyond disingenuous and abusive."

In a footnote in the motion, they suggest Flynn should be disbarred.

Reached for comment, Flynn said defense attorneys would be "filing a response in a timely fashion." She declined to address the allegations made by prosecutors.

jfenton@baltsun.com

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