Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Both Sides of the Freddie Gray Case Support the Same Judge

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Both Sides of the Freddie Gray Case Support the Same Judge

Article excerpt

Both sides of the Freddie Gray trial agree: Judge Barry Williams is the best man for the job.

"I think at the end of the day, no matter what side of the coin you are on, with Judge Barry Williams presiding over the case, you are going to understand and realize that everyone received a fair trial," local defense attorney Doug Colbert told CNN's Baltimore affiliate WBAL.

After studying at the University of Virginia, Judge Williams received his law degree at the University of Maryland. Williams worked as an assistant state's attorney specializing in street crime for eight years before becoming a trial attorney, and later special litigation counsel in the Department of Justice's civil rights division, where he deliberated police misconduct cases. And from 2012 to 2014, Williams chaired Baltimore's Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

"I've been trying to think, could I imagine anyone else in terms of their career path who would have been better prepared for this case?" Larry Gibson, Williams' former professor at the University of Maryland Francis Carey Law Center, told the Associated Press. "I can't."

Twenty-five-year-old Freddie Gray was arrested in April 2015 after running away from the police. Gray was then handcuffed and put in the back of a police van - without a seatbelt - where he suffered a spine injury during transport. When Gray died in the hospital a week later, protesters filled the streets and his case quickly became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Marilyn Mosby, the state's Attorney for Baltimore, charged six officers who were involved with Gray's arrest with a variety of crimes, ranging from involuntary manslaughter to depraved-heart murder.

Officer William Porter was the first of six officers to be tried in Gray's death. Williams declared a mistrial in Mr. Porter's case after deadlocked jurors failed to reach in agreement on Porter' charges of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and misconduct in office. Williams has scheduled a new trial for Porter on Sept. 6.

Officer Edward Nero was tried next in early May. Mr. Nero opted for a bench trial instead of a typical jury. …

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