Why Officer Porter must testify

Posted at 6:53 PM, May 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-20 18:53:22-04

Friday the Court of Appeals released the detailed reason for its March ruling forcing Officer William Porter to testify in the other Freddie Gray cases.

The formal ruling the Court of Appeals explained limited immunity to testify against a co-defendant in a crime is sufficient and that Officer Porter is in no danger of incriminating himself; however, the court pointed out that in doing so creates a significant burden on the state.

Prosecutors have to make sure whatever Porter does say on the stand, it cannot be used against him in his re-trial.

That will be determined in a special pre-trial hearing and if the circuit court believes the state hasn't proved it can do so, the judge can rule porter not to be re-tried.

Another issue in this appeal was whether or not the circuit court could question the state's attorney's reason for compelling a witness to testify.

You'll remember Judge Barry Williams originally ruled Porter should not be forced to testify in the cases against Officers Nero, Miller or Lieutenant Rice.

Williams thought the state was trying to reshuffle the order of trials after Porter's mistrial, that the request was a stalling tactic, “a ruse and subterfuge.”

The court of appeals ruled the circuit court had no right to question the state as long as prosecutors believed porter's testimony was necessary to the public interest.

The high court telling the lower court, it is to simply carry out this request and not question it. 

It is important to note however the state never did call officer porter in Edward Nero's trial.

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