The trial of Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. was supposed to start this week, but a Maryland appeals court’s schedule means the trial is getting pushed back a couple months.
After putting what seemed like a temporary hold on the trial earlier this week, the Court of Special Appeals scheduled a hearing for March 4. The court is considering whether to order Officer William Porter to testify in the case. Porter, whose own trial ended in a hung jury in December, is looking to invoke his 5th Amendment rights. But the prosecution says he is key to their case.
Even if the Court of Special Appeals rules on March 4, either side could appeal their case to Maryland’s next court, which is the Court of Appeals. So there’s no guarantee that the trial would begin immediately.
In fact, even more appeals could follow if Porter testifies, and is then found guilty at his own trial in June. Writing in Slate, Mark Joseph Stern says the whole episode could become a “constitutional sideshow” that “could drag on for years.”
Goodson, who drove the police van that transported Freddie Gray around West Baltimore, faces the most serious charge of any officer in the case of second degree depraved heart murder.
Whether the other officers are tried even while Goodson’s is on hold remains to be seen. The prosecution also wants Porter to testify in the next trial of Sgt. Alicia White, which was slated to begin Feb. 8. The remaining three officers were scheduled to be tried later in February and March.
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