A judge in Baltimore has rejected the request of police officers accused in the Freddie Gray case to move their trials outside the city. Six officers are accused of crimes related to Gray’s death in a police van; one, the driver of the van, is accused of second-degree murder. Their attorneys had argued that media coverage, comments by public officials, and the public disorder that followed Gray’s death had biased the local jury pool. From the Baltimore Sun:
Prosecutors, however, urged that moving the case before screening potential jurors would be premature.
[Judge Barry] Williams agreed, saying it was wrong to “assume they cannot be fair” without questioning individual potential jurors. Williams was unconvinced that media coverage had influenced citizens - at least not any more than residents of other jurisdictions, saying the coverage had been “local, state, national, international.”
The officers will be tried separately; their trials could begin as soon as Oct. 13. Williams’ decision does leave open the possibility that the trials could be moved at a later date if an unbiased jury cannot be found through the juror selection process.