Criminal Justice | WYPR

Criminal Justice

Prosecutors say Rice should have been a leader

Jul 14, 2016
P. Kenneth Burns

The fate of Lt. Brian Rice is now in the hands of Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams.

Williams heard closing arguments Thursday in the trial of Rice, the highest ranking officer in the Freddie Gray case. He is charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in Gray’s death last year.

Judge Williams said he will render his verdict at 10 a.m. Monday.

Rice Trial: Defense has a variety of closing options

Jul 13, 2016
P. Kenneth Burns

In their closing arguments, prosecutors are expected to suggest Lt. Brian Rice, as senior officer, knew more than anyone the dangers of not seat belting Freddie Gray in the back of a police van last year.  Defense attorneys will say Rice was concerned about the safety of his fellow officers and Gray as a crowd at the arrest scene became hostile.

Those arguments are scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday.

Rice Trial: A feeling of déjà vu

Jul 13, 2016
P. Kenneth Burns

Prosecutors and defense lawyers in the trial of Lt. Brian Rice will spend  Wednesday preparing their closing arguments for Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams. They’re scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday.

Rice is charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office in last year’s death of Freddie Gray from a severe spinal injury suffered while being transported in the back of a police van.

This trial, the fourth of an officer charged in Gray’s death, feels like Groundhog Day: allegations similar to the previous trial, similar evidence, similar witnesses.

Rice Trial: Defense rests, closing arguments Thursday

Jul 12, 2016
P. Kenneth Burns

The defense rested its case Tuesday in the trial of Lt. Brian Rice; the highest ranking officer among six charged in last year’s death of Freddie Gray.

Lawyers for Rice called four witnesses, including two medical experts that testified in the morning.

Prosecutor challenges rise during Rice trial

Jul 12, 2016
Baltimore Police

The dismissal of the second degree assault charge against Lt. Brian Rice is just another setback for prosecutors in the Freddie Gray case who have yet to secure a conviction through three trials.

Officer William Porter’s trial ended in a hung jury last December.  He is to be re-tried in September.  Officers Edward Nero and Caesar Goodson were acquitted by Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams in May and June, respectively.

And prosecutors have been having a hard time proving Rice bears any responsibility for Gray’s April 2015 death from a severe spinal injury.  

In addition to Circuit Judge Barry Williams' dismissal of the assault charge, prosecutors dropped one count of misconduct in office stemming frmo Gray's initial detainment.

The remaining charges against Rice are involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and another misconduct in office count.

Rice Trial: State rests, assault dismissed

Jul 11, 2016
P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams dismissed Monday the charge of second degree assault against Lt. Brian Rice.  He did so after the state rested its case.

Williams said while prosecutors have shown that Rice did not put Freddie Gray in a seatbelt, he was “not satisfied” that the state had shown evidence that Rice committed assault.

Baltimore Police

A friend of Freddie Gray, the black man who died from injuries suffered in police custody, testified that an officer on trial in the death told him to leave as Gray was being arrested.

P. Kenneth Burns

A neurosurgeon has testified at the trial of a Baltimore police officer facing criminal charges after the arrest and death of a young black man that the man suffered an incomplete spinal cord injury and could still move his head and talk.

Fraser Smith and Andy Green, of the Baltimore Sun's editorial board, discuss the fall-out from the results of the police trials in the Freddie Gray case.

State says Rice is responsible as supervisor

Jul 7, 2016
P. Kenneth Burns

Prosecutors argued Thursday that Lt. Brian Rice, as shift commander, had ultimate responsibility for keeping Freddie Gray safe in the back of a police van the day of his arrest, but that he failed to do so by not securing Gray with a seatbelt.

Outside of that, much of what Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow told Circuit Judge Barry Williams in his opening statements in Rice’s trial was similar to what he said in the trials of Officers Caesar Goodson and Edward Nero.

Rice trial begins Thursday

Jul 5, 2016
Baltimore Police

The trial of Lt. Brian Rice, the highest ranking officer of the six charged in last year’s death of Freddie Gray, is to begin Thursday morning.  And it will be a bench trial.

Rice, who has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, second degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment, waived his right to a jury trial during a hearing before Circuit Judge Barry Williams Tuesday.

What’s next for prosecutors in Freddie Gray case?

Jun 30, 2016

  Prosecutors will continue to seek a conviction in last year’s death of Freddie Gray when the trial of Lt. Brian Rice begins Tuesday with a motions hearing.

But after three trials, they have yet to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any of the officers tried so far were criminally responsible for Gray’s death.

The Baltimore Police Department has updated its use of force policy to mandate officers to immediately render aid if someone in custody complains of an injury a year after an arrestee suffered a critical spinal injury in a police van but was initially denied medical treatment.

Police launch text line for tips in Lor Scoota murder

Jun 27, 2016
P. Kenneth Burns

  Baltimore Police launched Monday two new digital methods for witnesses to send tips for their investigation into the murder of popular local rapper Tyriece Watson, also known as “Lor Scoota.”

Detectives are asking the public to text their tips, pictures, videos, Facebook Live and Periscope links to 443-902-4824. 

The public can also email files to homicidetips@baltimorepolice.org. People who report tips can remain anonymous.

“We’ll take it in Google Drive, we’ll take it in Dropbox; however you have it,” said police spokesman T.J. Smith.

Goodson cleared of all charges in Freddie Gray’s death

Jun 23, 2016

Officer Caesar Goodson was acquitted Thursday of all charges against him in the police custody death of Freddie Gray.

Goodson, who drove the police van that transported Gray, faced the most serious charges in the case: second degree depraved heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross negligent manslaughter by vehicle, criminal negligent manslaughter by vehicle, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

Officer Caesar Goodson, one of the six Baltimore city police officers indicted in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, was acquitted Thursday of second-degree depraved-heart murder, second-degree assault, misconduct in office, involuntary manslaughter, manslaughter by vehicles (gross negligence), manslaughter by vehicles (criminal negligence) and reckless endangerment. In December, Officer William G. Porter's trial ended with a hung jury and last month Officer Edward Nero was acquitted of all charges including reckless endangerment and second-degree assault. 

Judge Barry Williams issued his verdict in the Goodson trial on Thursday morning. Maryland Morning host Tom Hall anchored special live coverage of the verdict. He was joined in-studio by lawyer F. Michael Higginbotham of University of Baltimore Law School and Ray Kelly, president of the No Boundaries Coalition. WYPR reporters P. Kenneth Burns and Rachel Baye provided live coverage from the city courthouse. 

A Baltimore court has acquitted Officer Caesar Goodson of second-degree murder and all other charges in a case related to the death of Freddie Gray.

Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died from a spinal cord injury sustained while in police custody last year.

Goodson drove the van that transported Gray after his arrest. Gray apparently sustained the fatal injury during that van ride, during which he was handcuffed, shackled and not wearing a seat belt. The incident sparked protests and riots in Baltimore and raised questions about police negligence.

P. Kenneth Burns

  A Baltimore judge is poised to deliver his verdict in the murder trial of an officer who drove the police van where a black arrestee's neck was broken, triggering some of the worst riots the city has ever seen.

Caesar Goodson was charged with murder, manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

Goodson Trial: Prosecutors roughed up by judge over theory

Jun 20, 2016
P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams was sharply critical Monday morning of prosecutors who argued that Officer Caesar Goodson gave Freddie Gray a rough ride in the back of his police van that lead to a fatal spine injury.

Goodson Trial: Can prosecutors close the case?

Jun 19, 2016

Closing arguments in the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson are scheduled Monday morning before Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams.

Goodson faces the most serious charges in the death of Freddie Gray; second degree depraved heart murder, criminal negligent vehicular manslaughter, gross negligent vehicular manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.

But the state has had a hard time thus far proving its case against the officer it has charged.

Goodson Trial: Nero called as defense rests

Jun 19, 2016

Lawyers for Officer Caesar Goodson, on trial in the death of Freddie Gray, called Officer Edward Nero to the stand Friday.

It was the first time Nero, who was recently acquitted in the same case, returned to Courthouse East after Circuit Judge Barry Williams found him not guilty of second degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office in May.

Goodson Trial: Sparks fly as charges stand

Jun 19, 2016

Prosecutors and a lead detective in the Freddie Gray case clashed Thursday as Circuit Judge Barry Williams denied a motion to acquit Officer Caesar Goodson, the van driver accused of giving Gray a fatal rough ride last year.

Goodson Trial: The state rests under a cloud

Jun 19, 2016

    

Prosecutors rested their case Wednesday against police Officer Caesar Goodson who faces the most serious charges in last year’s death of Freddie Gray.   But they did so with a second witness in as many days giving testimony that conflicts with their theory that Goodson gave Gray a “rough ride” on the way to the Western District police station.

When court resumes Thursday morning, Circuit Judge Barry Williams will hear arguments on a defense motion to acquit Goodson of all the charges against him; second degree depraved heart murder, criminal negligent vehicular manslaughter, gross negligent vehicular manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office.

Goodson Trial: Did Porter hurt or help prosecutors

Jun 14, 2016

  Police Officer William Porter testified Monday that Officer Caesar Goodson said, “Sure,” when Porter suggested he take Freddie Gray to the hospital on April 12, 2015.

Prosecutors are expected to call more witnesses Monday in their murder case against the police van driver in the death of a 25-year-old black man who died after his neck was broken in the back of the van.

Officer Caesar Goodson faces second-degree murder, manslaughter and other charges stemming from the death of Freddie Gray.

His trial began Thursday and the state has called 11 witnesses.

In the second day of a Baltimore police van driver's murder trial, prosecutors have called to the witness stand a doctor who did an autopsy on a man who died after his neck was broken in the back of the van.

Officer Caesar Goodson is charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and other offenses stemming from Freddie Gray's death. Gray died April 19, a week after his spine was snapped in Goodson's van.

The state on Friday called its eighth witness, assistant medical examiner Carol Allan, who ruled Gray's death a homicide.

Goodson Trial: State says Gray taken for “rough ride”

Jun 13, 2016

Prosecutors charged Thursday that Freddie Gray was injured because he got a “rough ride” on the way to the Western District police station at the hands of Officer Caesar Goodson.

Gray died from that injury – a broken neck – a week after his arrest in April 2015. Goodson is on trial in Gray’s death.

 

Goodson Trial: Prosecutors begin at distinct disadvantage

Jun 13, 2016

When the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson, one of six charged in the Freddie Gray case, begins Thursday morning at Courthouse East, prosecutors will be at a distinct disadvantage.

Circuit Judge Barry Williams ruled during pre-trial motions that prosecutors cannot mention a phone call between Officer William Porter and an investigator in the case in which Porter said he told Goodson that Gray “couldn’t breathe.”

The third trial related to the death of Freddie Gray begins Thursday, as police Officer Caesar Goodson — who faces the most serious charge in the case — heads to court in Baltimore.

Goodson drove the van in which Gray was transported after his arrest. Gray, a 25-year-old black man, suffered a fatal spine injury while in police custody — apparently while riding in the van, in shackles and not wearing a seat belt — and later died.

As the driver of the van, Goodson faces charges including second-degree depraved-heart murder in Gray's death on April 19, 2015.

Goodson trial is the one to watch

Jun 8, 2016

The trial of Officer Caesar Goodson, the third of six Baltimore police officers charged in the death last year of Freddie Gray, begins Monday morning with motions hearings in Courthouse East. Goodson drove the van in which prosecutors say Gray suffered his fatal injuries. 

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