Attorneys for the six Baltimore Police officers on trial for the death of Freddie Gray gathered at the Maryland Court of Appeals on Thursday. Seven judges listened to an appeal of Judge Barry Williams ruling that Officer William Porter be compelled to testify against the other five. Last April, Gray was in police custody when he suffered spinal injuries in the back of a police van. He died a week later.
In November, Porter’s first trial ended in a hung jury. As he waited on a new trial, a judge ruled he could be compelled to testify against some of the officers but not others.
The attorneys were asked questions about why the case was in the high court; what case law backed up claims for both sides; and whether immunity to Porter could be used against him in his own retrial or in a federal case.
Multiple attorneys took their turn fielding questions. Judge Clayton Greene, Jr. posed the question, “Isn’t the cat out of the bag” because Porter has testified in a deposition and in open court? It was one of many questions brought up in the case. Much of the case law regarding derivative immunity (a limit use) is found at the federal level making this appeal unprecedented.
The judges did not rule from the bench at the end of the oral arguments. The judges will likely have a written ruling sooner than later according to court observers.
— With AP