Change of venue motions denied in Gray trials

Posted at 7:40 AM, Sep 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-11 07:40:21-04

Judge Barry Williams made quick work on more trial motions in the Freddie gray case Thursday.

All six trials will be held in Baltimore as the judge denied the defense motion for a change of venue.

The defense argued in addition to massive media coverage, the jury pool is tainted by people who were affected by the riots. 

The state disagreed. If Montgomery County could try the sniper and Boston bomber, Baltimore can handle the six officers, the state argued.

Judge Williams agreed, saying those living in Baltimore are not monolithic and can think for themselves.

The defense was disappointed but respects the ruling.

Some lawyers warn the ruling can change. If Judge Williams deems an impartial jury cannot be seated in these cases...he can still move them out of Baltimore.

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The criminal trials of the six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray will stay in Baltimore, a judge ruled Thursday.

Judge Barry Williams announced the ruling on the venue for the trial around 11 a.m.

Lawyers representing the six Baltimore police officers argued pre-trial publicity would make it impossible for the officers to get a fair trial. They also contend that every member of the jury pool would have been impacted by rioting and curfew and would have strong emotional ties to the case.

The defense team also noted a civil settlement that the jury members, as taxpayers, will ultimately pay for.

Prosecutors argued the publicity will not be an issue and referenced the trial of the D.C. sniper and the Boston Bomber, both highly publicized trials were held in their home cities or jurisdictions.

The state said it would be an insult to the citizens of Baltimore to move the trial without trying to seat a jury.

When announcing his ruling, Judge Williams said it would be "quite a leap" for the court to presume Baltimore citizens cannot serve on a jury in these trials.