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Miller Trial Set For Next Week

July 22nd, 2016 by WCBC Radio

In spite of calls from various groups for prosecutors to drop the charges, the next trial of a Baltimore Police charged in the death of Freddie Gray will move forward next week. An advisory from the court indicates pre-trial motions for Officer Garrett Miller will be heard on Wednesday, with jury selection scheduled for Thursday.

However, Miller is expected to follow the lead of the last three officers to stand trial and request a bench trial.

If that happens, Miller's trial likely wouldn't begin until next Friday at the earliest.

Miller, 27, is charged with second degree assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of misconduct in office. These are all misdemeanors.

Miller will be the fifth officer to go on trial for Gray's death. The last three officers to stand trial, Edward Nero, Caesar Goodson and Brian Rice, were all acquitted in bench trials.

Rice was acquitted on Monday. Goodson was acquitted last month. Nero was acquitted in May.

In December, the trial of Officer William Porter ended with a hung jury, and he faces a retrial in September.

One of the misconduct charge is related to an alleged illegal arrest of Gray. At the start of Rice's trial, prosecutors dropped that charge. It is likely they will drop that charge here.

Miller testified with immunity at Nero's trial in May. At the time he testified that he, and no other officer,  took down Freddie Gray when he was arrested in April of last year.

Gray died a week later from injuries he suffered in a police transport van.  Under the immunity agreement, prosecutors cannot use any of that testimony against Miller at his trial. Judge Barry Williams is expected to hold a Kastigar hearing, where the state must prove none of its case is based on Miller's testimony.

Both sides have filed motions for this hearing, but disagree over its scope. The defense is requesting the hearing examine the entire prosecution case from the beginning, including requiring prosecutors to testify at the hearing.

 

The prosecution plans to argue for a hearing on a much narrower basis, focusing only on Miller's testimony and the prosecution's investigation following that hearing.

 

In what legal analysts say is a way to show Judge Williams that none of its case is based on Miller's previous testimony, Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby has named two other assistant state's attorneys to prosecute both Miller's trial and the Porter retrial, since Porter has testified at Goodson's and Rice's trials.

Lisa Phelps and Sarah David will be the lead prosecutor's both at Miller's trial and Porter's retrial, replacing Michael Schatzow and Janice Bledsoe.

The judge has not ruled on when the Kastigar hearing will take place. It may be set after Wednesday's pre-trial hearing.  

Other defense motions will also be held on Wednesday.

Miller remains suspended with pay, following his indictment in May of last year.  

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