A State Appellate Court Error

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has postponed the trial of a police officer charged with second-degree murder in the death of Freddie Gray last April.

That officer was Caesar Goodson, the second officer to go on trial. The putative reason for the delay is the hung jury on the first trial, of William Porter. The Baltimore prosecutor has said that Porter’s testimony at Goodson’s trial (and at the trials of a number of the other officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death) is central to their case. With Porter still under trial, and with a Federal case against Porter still possible, his testimony could be incriminating, and the appellate court wants to fully adjudicate the legitimacy of the prosecution’s forcing Porter to testify.

So, for the sake of government convenience, another defendant’s trial is delayed, that defendant’s 6th Amendment right to a “speedy…trial” is annulled.

Of course, the prosecutor is prepared to proceed with the trial, pretty much by definition, else she would not have charged the defendant. That she finds it difficult to proceed without Porter is irrelevant. There’s nothing in that 6th Amendment that says “speedy…trial, except when the government demurs.”

This delay is wrong.

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