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Accused Officers In Gray Cases Appear In State’s Highest Court

March 3rd, 2016 by WCBC Radio

The cases of the officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray heads to Maryland's highest court today.

In oral arguments that are expected to take about two hours, the seven judges of the Maryland Court of Appeals will hear arguments over whether Officer William Porter can be forced to testify at the trials of the other five officers accused in Freddie Gray's death. All six of the accused officers are attending today's proceedings.  They are sitting together along a side wall in the ornate courtroom, where the Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments. Porter, whose own trial ended with a hung jury in December, faces a retrial in June.

His attorneys argue even though their client is being offered immunity his Fifth Amendment rights are not totally protected, since he could also face federal prosecution.

They describe the Court's efforts as, "a pinata which needs to be blocked."

Attorney General Brian Frosh has argued in written filings Porter is a material witness in the trials of Officer Caesar Goodson and Sgt. Alicia White,  and his testimony is "in the public interest," in the trials of Lt. Brian Rice, Officer Edward Nero, and Officer Garrett Miller.

One of the attorneys arguing for the state in the Court of Appeals is Michael Schatzow, who was part of the prosecution team at Officer William Porter's trial last year.

No word on when the Court of Appeals will rule, but legal experts expect a quick decision, because the five remaining trials are on hold.  

The current term of the Court of Appeals ends September 1.

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