Prosecutors Prevail On Porter Testimony

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The Court of Appeals of Maryland ruled yesterday that Officer William Porter must testify against all five of his co-defendants or face jail time, reports the Baltimore Sun.

favor of prosecutors in the Freddie Gray cases Tuesday, ordering that Baltimore police Officer William G. Porter can be compelled to testify against his five fellow officers.

The Court of Appeals rejected Porter’s request that he not be forced to testify at the trials of Officer Caesar R. Goodson Jr. and Sgt. Alicia D. White. It also reversed an order by Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams that denied prosecutors’ request to call Porter to testify against three other officers, Edward M. Nero, Garrett E. Miller and Lt. Brian W. Rice.

The rulings allow for the resumption of the officers’ trials, which have been halted since January. On Tuesday, Rice’s trial — originally set to begin Wednesday — was rescheduled for April 13, judiciary spokeswoman Terri Charles said. She noted that the date could change, and it will be up to the court to set a schedule for the remaining trials.

The high court’s decision was a victory for prosecutors, who argued that Porter’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination would not be violated by requiring him to testify under a grant of limited immunity. Under the immunity, his testimony at the officers’ trials cannot be used at his own retrial. Porter’s first trial ended in a mistrial in December when jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on any of the four charges against him.

This is an enormous win for Baltimore prosecutors. It is also a ruling of significant import for Maryland criminal law, answering a question of first impression regarding limited immunity. 

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