Criminal Justice | WYPR

Criminal Justice

Goodson cleared of all charges in Freddie Gray’s death

Jun 23, 2016

Officer Caesar Goodson was acquitted Thursday of all charges against him in the police custody death of Freddie Gray.

Goodson, who drove the police van that transported Gray, faced the most serious charges in the case: second degree depraved heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross negligent manslaughter by vehicle, criminal negligent manslaughter by vehicle, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun

Officer Caesar Goodson, one of the six Baltimore city police officers indicted in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, was acquitted Thursday of second-degree depraved-heart murder, second-degree assault, misconduct in office, involuntary manslaughter, manslaughter by vehicles (gross negligence), manslaughter by vehicles (criminal negligence) and reckless endangerment. In December, Officer William G. Porter's trial ended with a hung jury and last month Officer Edward Nero was acquitted of all charges including reckless endangerment and second-degree assault. 

Judge Barry Williams issued his verdict in the Goodson trial on Thursday morning. Maryland Morning host Tom Hall anchored special live coverage of the verdict. He was joined in-studio by lawyer F. Michael Higginbotham of University of Baltimore Law School and Ray Kelly, president of the No Boundaries Coalition. WYPR reporters P. Kenneth Burns and Rachel Baye provided live coverage from the city courthouse. 

A Baltimore court has acquitted Officer Caesar Goodson of second-degree murder and all other charges in a case related to the death of Freddie Gray.

Gray, a 25-year-old black man, died from a spinal cord injury sustained while in police custody last year.

Goodson drove the van that transported Gray after his arrest. Gray apparently sustained the fatal injury during that van ride, during which he was handcuffed, shackled and not wearing a seat belt. The incident sparked protests and riots in Baltimore and raised questions about police negligence.

P. Kenneth Burns

  A Baltimore judge is poised to deliver his verdict in the murder trial of an officer who drove the police van where a black arrestee's neck was broken, triggering some of the worst riots the city has ever seen.

Caesar Goodson was charged with murder, manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

Goodson Trial: Prosecutors roughed up by judge over theory

Jun 20, 2016
P. Kenneth Burns

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams was sharply critical Monday morning of prosecutors who argued that Officer Caesar Goodson gave Freddie Gray a rough ride in the back of his police van that lead to a fatal spine injury.

Goodson Trial: Can prosecutors close the case?

Jun 19, 2016

Closing arguments in the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson are scheduled Monday morning before Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams.

Goodson faces the most serious charges in the death of Freddie Gray; second degree depraved heart murder, criminal negligent vehicular manslaughter, gross negligent vehicular manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment.

But the state has had a hard time thus far proving its case against the officer it has charged.

Goodson Trial: Nero called as defense rests

Jun 19, 2016

Lawyers for Officer Caesar Goodson, on trial in the death of Freddie Gray, called Officer Edward Nero to the stand Friday.

It was the first time Nero, who was recently acquitted in the same case, returned to Courthouse East after Circuit Judge Barry Williams found him not guilty of second degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office in May.

Goodson Trial: Sparks fly as charges stand

Jun 19, 2016

Prosecutors and a lead detective in the Freddie Gray case clashed Thursday as Circuit Judge Barry Williams denied a motion to acquit Officer Caesar Goodson, the van driver accused of giving Gray a fatal rough ride last year.

Goodson Trial: The state rests under a cloud

Jun 19, 2016

    

Prosecutors rested their case Wednesday against police Officer Caesar Goodson who faces the most serious charges in last year’s death of Freddie Gray.   But they did so with a second witness in as many days giving testimony that conflicts with their theory that Goodson gave Gray a “rough ride” on the way to the Western District police station.

When court resumes Thursday morning, Circuit Judge Barry Williams will hear arguments on a defense motion to acquit Goodson of all the charges against him; second degree depraved heart murder, criminal negligent vehicular manslaughter, gross negligent vehicular manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter and misconduct in office.

Goodson Trial: Did Porter hurt or help prosecutors

Jun 14, 2016

  Police Officer William Porter testified Monday that Officer Caesar Goodson said, “Sure,” when Porter suggested he take Freddie Gray to the hospital on April 12, 2015.

Prosecutors are expected to call more witnesses Monday in their murder case against the police van driver in the death of a 25-year-old black man who died after his neck was broken in the back of the van.

Officer Caesar Goodson faces second-degree murder, manslaughter and other charges stemming from the death of Freddie Gray.

His trial began Thursday and the state has called 11 witnesses.

In the second day of a Baltimore police van driver's murder trial, prosecutors have called to the witness stand a doctor who did an autopsy on a man who died after his neck was broken in the back of the van.

Officer Caesar Goodson is charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter and other offenses stemming from Freddie Gray's death. Gray died April 19, a week after his spine was snapped in Goodson's van.

The state on Friday called its eighth witness, assistant medical examiner Carol Allan, who ruled Gray's death a homicide.

Goodson Trial: State says Gray taken for “rough ride”

Jun 13, 2016

Prosecutors charged Thursday that Freddie Gray was injured because he got a “rough ride” on the way to the Western District police station at the hands of Officer Caesar Goodson.

Gray died from that injury – a broken neck – a week after his arrest in April 2015. Goodson is on trial in Gray’s death.

 

Goodson Trial: Prosecutors begin at distinct disadvantage

Jun 13, 2016

When the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson, one of six charged in the Freddie Gray case, begins Thursday morning at Courthouse East, prosecutors will be at a distinct disadvantage.

Circuit Judge Barry Williams ruled during pre-trial motions that prosecutors cannot mention a phone call between Officer William Porter and an investigator in the case in which Porter said he told Goodson that Gray “couldn’t breathe.”

The third trial related to the death of Freddie Gray begins Thursday, as police Officer Caesar Goodson — who faces the most serious charge in the case — heads to court in Baltimore.

Goodson drove the van in which Gray was transported after his arrest. Gray, a 25-year-old black man, suffered a fatal spine injury while in police custody — apparently while riding in the van, in shackles and not wearing a seat belt — and later died.

As the driver of the van, Goodson faces charges including second-degree depraved-heart murder in Gray's death on April 19, 2015.

Goodson trial is the one to watch

Jun 8, 2016

The trial of Officer Caesar Goodson, the third of six Baltimore police officers charged in the death last year of Freddie Gray, begins Monday morning with motions hearings in Courthouse East. Goodson drove the van in which prosecutors say Gray suffered his fatal injuries. 

Graphic courtesy cnn.com

How will Monday's not-guilty verdict in the trial of Officer Edward Nero, combined with last year’s hung jury in the case of Officer William Porter, affect the State’s Attorney’s case against Ceasar Goodson, the police van driver whose trial is slated to begin early next month?   He’s the next Baltimore police officer to be tried in connection with Freddie Gray's death from injuries sustained while in police custody in April 2015. And what will be the impact of the newly-released Appeals Court ruling, which compels the indicted police officers to testify in each other’s trials? This morning, legal analysis from attorney Edward Smith and University of Baltimore law professor David Jaros, who join Tom in Studio A.

Nero Not Guilty

May 24, 2016

Baltimore Police Officer Edward Nero was acquitted Monday by Circuit Judge Barry Williams of all charges against him in the Freddie Gray case. 

Nero was indicted on second degree assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of misconduct relating to last year’s death of Freddie Gray from a broken neck suffered while in police custody.

Williams took about twenty minutes to explain his reasoning.

Verdict in Nero trial to be announced Monday

May 24, 2016

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams is to issue Monday his verdict in the trial of police Officer Edward Nero.

Nero has been charged with second degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office in last year’s death of Freddie Gray.

Court is to begin at 10:30 a.m.

Maryland high court explains Porter ruling

May 24, 2016

The Maryland Court of Appeals – the state’s highest court – released Friday its written opinion explaining why it ordered one police officer accused in last year’s death of Freddie Gray to testify against his five co-defendants.

Nero trial is now in judge’s hands

May 24, 2016

Prosecutors and defense attorneys presented their closing arguments Thursday before Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams.  And now Williams is examining the evidence and testimony presented at the trial of police Officer Edward Nero.

Baltimore police Officer Edward Nero has been found not guilty of all four misdemeanor charges he faced in connection with the arrest of Freddie Gray.

Gray died on April 19, 2015, after suffering injuries while in police custody.

Following the ruling, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement, "This is our American system of justice and police officers must be afforded the same justice system as every other citizen in the city, state, and country."

PKBurns-WYPR

On the morning of Monday, May 23rd, as Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams delivered his not-guilty verdicts in the trial of Police officer Edward Nero, WYPR was on the air live, providing forty minutes of special coverage anchored by Maryland Morning host Tom Hall. ​ He was joined on the phone from the Courthouse by WYPR reporters Kenny Burns and Jonna McKone. Providing legal analysis of the judge's verdicts were two of the city's top legal scholars: private attorney Edward Smith joined Tom in the studio, and University of Baltimore law professor David Jaros was on the line from the Courthouse.  Joining the conversation were Ray Kelly, leader of the No Boundaries Coalition, and Davon Love, with Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, both sharing their perspectives on how this ruling will be received across the city, and its implications for Baltimore's ongoing struggle to address issues of racial injustice and police misconduct. 

This is audio of WYPR's special live coverage from 10:38am to 11:18am on May 23, 2016.

Judge to hear closing arguments at Nero Trial

May 19, 2016

    

Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams will hear closing arguments Thursday in the trial of police Officer Edward Nero who is facing second degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment for his alleged role in the arrest of Freddie Gray.

Nero defense rests

May 19, 2016

  A former training director for the Baltimore Police Department testified Wednesday there was “no possible way” an officer could safely buckle a suspect in the back of a police van.

Capt. Justin Reynolds, one of the last two defense witnesses in the trial of Officer Edward Nero, said an officer risked being assaulted if he tried.

Nero is one of six officers charged in the case of Freddie Gray, who died a week after his arrest in April 2015 from injuries suffered in the back of a police van.

The police sergeant who trained Officer Edward Nero in the field praised him Tuesday as the defense continued its case in Nero’s trial on charges stemming from the death last year of Freddie Gray in police custody.

Miller wrap up state’s case against Nero

May 19, 2016

  Officer Garret Miller testified yesterday that it was he who handcuffed Freddie Gray at the time of his arrest in April 2015, not Officer Edward Nero, and that he later placed leg restraints on Gray at the second stop of the police van taking Gray to the Western District station.

He also said he made the call for the wagon to meet them at the edge of Gilmore Homes to pick up Gray.

A fellow officer or two could be called in Nero trial

May 19, 2016

Prosecutors could call one, or even two, of police Officer Edward Nero’s colleagues to testify against him today as his trial on charges in the Freddie Gray case goes into a third day.

Prosecutors map out what Nero did

May 19, 2016

Prosecutors played the statement police Officer Edward Nero gave to investigators during the second day of Nero’s trial.  The state spent much of the day focused on what took place on April 12, 2015; the day of the arrest.

During opening statements, Chief Deputy State's Attorney Michael Schatzow told Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams that Officer Edward Nero disregarded his police training when he chased Freddie Gray and arrested him without probable cause, and was callously indifferent to the 25-year-old's wellbeing when he failed to secure him in a seatbelt.

Schatzow spent about 20 minutes laying out the state's argument.

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