And some critics claim that the mistrial puts the cases of the five other officers in jeopardy. These critics also say that Mosby may have rushed to charge the officers, a decision that came a month after Gray’s death.
But legal analyst Damario Solomon-Simmons tells NewsOne that neither Porter’s case, nor the other five are over–not by a stretch.
Solomon-Simmons tells us what to look for next:
NewsOne: What are the legal ramifications of a mistrial?
Damario Solomon-Simmons: First, people must understand that a mistrial is not an acquittal. The most significant aspect of a hung jury is that the state planned to utilize Porter as a “material witness” against the other 5 officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray. But because of the 5th Amendment, Porter cannot be forced to incriminate (tell on) himself. If the state still wants to call Porter to testify against the other officers, they must decide immediately whether to retry him.
NO: There has been some commentary that Marilyn Mosby made a rookie mistake
of overcharging the officers and pushing the case too soon. Do you agree?
DSS: It is impossible to know if Mosby moved too fast in bringing this case. However, it is obvious that Mosby is an extremely bold, intelligent, and savvy legal professional focused on doing what she believes is best for her constituents. Additionally, she is also a practical individual and an elected official who understood that these cases would be covered by every major media outlet in the world. So, I’m positive that she would not have moved forward with trial if she didn’t think she had everything she needed to secure a conviction.
NO: How will this impact the other five cases? Could it be a positive and
negative impact on the further cases?
DSS: As I said earlier, the state planned to use Porter to testify in the other cases. So future trials, including the January 6, 2016 trial of Caesar Goodson, could be delayed if the state decides to retry Porter. Goodson faces the most serious charge–second-degree depraved heart murder, so you can be certain that Mosby is reviewing the evidence and getting ready for the next round.
NO: What are the next steps? Will she retry the case? Should she?
DSS: While rare, mistrials occur in our legal system and state prosecutors usually win. I fully expect Mosby to inform Judge Williams on Thursday that she plans to re-try Porter. I also expect that the other officers’ trials will be delayed until Porter’s second trial is completed.
I believe a retrial and a verdict will be important for Porter, Freddie Gray’s family, the city of Baltimore, and activists working to end police violence.