Judge Orders Baltimore Police Officer to Testify in Colleague’s Trial

© REUTERS/Bryan Woolston Officer Caesar Goodson (R) and his attorney Matthew Fraling (L) arrive at the courthouse for pretrial hearings in Baltimore, Maryland, January 6, 2016. Goodson, charged with several offense including second degree…
© REUTERS/Bryan Woolston Officer Caesar Goodson (R) and his attorney Matthew Fraling (L) arrive at the courthouse for pretrial hearings in Baltimore, Maryland, January 6, 2016. Goodson, charged with several offense including second degree…

Baltimore Judge Barry G. Williams ordered that Officer William Porter be compelled to testify at the upcoming trial of a fellow Baltimore Police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray, a ruling Porter’s defense attorneys said they would immediately seek an injunction to block. 

Williams said he found himself in “uncharted territory” as he granted Porter a type of immunity that allows his charges to stand but which precludes his testimony from being used against him. Attorneys and legal observers agreed that such a ruling against a co-defendant was a first in Maryland.

Porter’s defense attorney Gary Proctor had argued that forcing Porter to testify at the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson would violate his state and federal constitutional rights that protect defendants against self-incrimination, and that he could be subjected to perjury charges or become exposed in a federal investigation.

Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow said Porter could not claim such protections once granted immunity.

“Officer Porter, in the Officer Goodson case, is a witness,” Schatzow told Williams in his argument. “That’s the only status he has.”

Schatzow said that though he thought the law was clear, he agreed the ruling would be a first.

“Somebody has to be first,” Schatzow said to Williams.

“It’s gotta be me,” Williams said with mock regret.

“Who would be better?” Schatzow joked.

Jury selection in Goodson’s trial is scheduled for Monday.

Prosecutors have said Porter is a “material witness” against Goodson and Sgt. Alicia White, whose trial is scheduled for Jan. 25.

Porter remains charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. He is scheduled to be retried in June.

Click here to read more

Source: Baltimore Sun | Justin Fenton and Kevin Rector