[Ed. – Frankly, if the prosecutors try to force Porter to testify — when he remains in jeopardy of retrial – I don’t see how ANY convictions out of this incident stick. The federal courts should overturn the Maryland ruling, and any convictions that result from it, and disband Maryland for good measure.]
Some very unexpected news broke in Baltimore today, with Maryland’s highest court finding that Officer William G. Porter will be forced to testify in the upcoming trials of his fellow cops who were involved in the death of Freddie Gray. This question has been percolating through the court system for a while now and had the potential to hold up, if not derail the rest of the trials scheduled to take place, but now we seem to have reached the end of the line. (ABC News)
Maryland’s highest court has ruled that a Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray must testify against his colleagues while he awaits retrial.
The Court of Appeals issued a ruling Tuesday siding with prosecutors who asked a judge to compel William Porter to testify against the five other officers facing charges stemming from Gray’s death. Porter’s first trial ended in a hung jury in December.
When Porter’s first trial resulted in a hung jury I asked about this possibility. It seemed to me that since Officer Porter could easily be facing a retrial and he was involved in the original situation which spurred all of this, any testimony he gave in the subsequent trials of the other officers could be used against him later. This should, in theory, violate his constitutional rights against self-incrimination. It’s a question which the local press covered yet again last week while the state supreme court was hearing arguments over Porter’s refusal to testify.