Update on 6/9/16 at 11:25 am ET: Judge Williams found the prosecutors committed a Brady violation by not providing information sooner regarding the inmate who was in the van with Gray. Donta Allen initially said that Gray was thrashing around as though trying to hurt himself. He later recanted that statement. As I write this, it’s unclear what the remedy will be as the bench trial moves forward.
Update in the Freddie Gray Trial of Officer Caesar Goodson at 10:45 am. The court media liaison just circulated the rulings in today’s hearing. See below. The bench trial begins June 9.
1. Defense Motion to dismiss for violation of speedy trial rights-
2. Defense motion in limine to preclude any reference to an out of court statement that Officer Porter allegedly made to Detective Teel on April 15,2015-
3. Defense motion in limine to preclude the admission of the autopsy report of Dr. Carol Allen in unredacted form-
DENIED with the exception of the statement that the court has already excluded
4. Motion to dismiss for failure to charge a crime (Assault)-
5. State’s Motion to prohibit the testimony of Charles G. Russell or in the alternative, limit his testimony to accident reconstruction-
6. Motion to preclude the testimony of Officer Porter in the absence of a written opinion from the Court of Appeals-
Bench trial begins at Circuit Court for Baltimore City on June 9, 2016, at 9:30 a.m., Courthouse East, 111 N. Calvert Street, Courtroom 234.
Angelika Graswald is scheduled to be in court this morning in Orange County, New York for a critical hearing in her second-degree murder case. Graswald was arrested on April 29, 2015 and charged with murdering her fiance Vincent Viafore by tampering with his kayak, causing him to drown in the Hudson River. His body was found a few weeks after her arrest. Today’s hearing deals with the admissibility of evidence at her upcoming trial.
On April 19, 2015, the two had been kayaking on the Hudson River, stopping at an island for a picnic. As they set out to leave, things went terribly wrong. Graswald said the weather took a turn and the waters got choppy. But it’s also the case that the plug on the top of Viafore’s kayak had been removed. Authorities believe that the kayak filled with water and sank as a result. In an 11-hour interrogation with the police on April 29, Graswald admitted pulling the plug but said it was some days before their outing.
In today’s hearing, the defense will try to convince the judge that the circumstances of the interrogation violated Graswald’s constitutional rights and, thus, her statements should be suppressed–meaning the State can’t use them in its case-in-chief. Under New York law, a hearing to suppress statements of a defendant is referred to a Huntley hearing. (I’ve conducted many, many Huntley hearings.) Portions of the interrogation have been played in 20/20 and 48 Hrs stories about the case. (Links to these videos are on the Graswald page under Cases of Interest.)
There are other issues to be handled at the hearing besides the motion to suppress the statements.
Graswald says her finance’s death was an accident. The State says she was motivated, as least in part, for financial reasons. She was the beneficiary of a $250,000 life insurance policy. Graswald is facing 25 years to life, if convicted of second-degree murder.
In Baltimore, Maryland, Caesar Goodson, the driver of the van in which Freddie Gray sustained a fatal neck injury, will be in court today for final hearings before his trial begins. Today, Goodson elected to waive a jury and have the judge decide his fate. Goodson faces the most serious charge of the six officers charged with crimes related to Gray’s death in April 2015–second degree murder. The theory of murder is called “depraved heart” which means he acted with a depraved indifference to human life by not making sure his inmate was properly seat belted and given medical attention at the first sign that he needed it. Goodson claims Gray’s death was an accident. He faces up to 30 years in prison, if convicted of second-degree murder.
By the way, Vincent Viafore and Freddie Gray both died on April 19, 2015.