Attorneys for Baltimore Police Officer William Porter filed an injunction Thursday in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, arguing Porter should not have to testify in Officer Caesar Goodson’s second-degree murder case.
“This issue potentially affects every case in Maryland from this point forward where two people are charged with the same crime, and their cases are severed,” lawyers wrote. “That has to occur literally thousands of times a year. It is important. At the hearing in the Circuit Court on this matter, all the parties agreed that there is no appellate guidance in Maryland on this issue. It scarcely goes without saying that this case is garnering international attention.”
Porter and Goodson are two of the six Baltimore Police officers charged with the April 2015 death of Freddie Gray. Porter’s trial ended with a hung jury last month; Goodson’s trial is scheduled to begin next week.
During his trial, lawyers for Porter repeatedly tried to pin the blame for Gray’s death on Goodson, who was driving the van in which Gray suffered a fatal spinal injury.
“Porter’s right to not incriminate himself is separate and distinct from Goodson’s trial,” his attorneys wrote.
Porter’s second trial is scheduled for June 13.
“Frankly, calling Porter as a witness in two trials, about the same matters upon which he faces a pending manslaughter trial, wreaks (sic) of impropriety,” lawyers argued in the injunction.
It “effectively renders the Fifth Amendment all but meaningless,” lawyers wrote.
The prosecution has said it will grant Porter immunity for his testimony in Goodson’s trial.
Yet prosecutors repeatedly portrayed Porter as a perjurer in his trial, and if he were to testify against Goodson, “something that the state believes is inconsistent with his trial testimony, the state would not have to prove which is false, and all the immunity the state could confer would be rendered meaningless,” lawyers argued.
The injunction can be argued before a panel of three judges, or a hearing can be called on the matter. It is unclear what the next steps will be.