- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The second Baltimore police officer set to go to trial over charges related to the death of Freddie Gray will be postponed through at least early March as attorneys argue over whether another officer can be forced to testify against his colleague before his own retrial.

In an order issued Tuesday, a Maryland Court of Special Appeals judge scheduled arguments for March 4 in an appeal made by Officer William Porter, who is seeking to avoid testifying against Officer Caesar Goodson Jr. The trial of Officer Goodson, who is charged with second-degree depraved heart murder in connection with Gray’s death, had been set to begin Monday but was delayed as attorneys awaited a ruling by the appeals court.

Officer Porter was expected to serve as a key witness in Officer Goodson’s trial, but because a jury deadlocked on a decision in his own trial in December, his case remains unresolved. Officer Goodson drove the van in which Gray was mortally injured, and Officer Porter was faulted for failing to buckle Gray’s seatbelt inside the van and for not immediately calling a medic after Gray asked for one.

Gray suffered a broken neck while handcuffed in the back of a police van in April and died a week later.

A circuit court judge ordered that Officer Porter could be forced to testify under a limited immunity that would prevent what he says in Officer Goodson’s trial from being used against him when he is retried. But his own attorneys have challenged that decision, asking the appeals court to weigh in.

The latest decision from the court creates a significant delay in Officer Goodson’s trial. Unknown is whether it will also throw off the schedule for four other officers who are charged in connection with Gray’s death.

The next scheduled trial is that of Sgt. Alicia White, set for Feb. 8.

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