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Prosecutor: Limit Freddie Gray Evidence Leaks or Release Everything

Image: Prosecutor: Limit Freddie Gray Evidence Leaks or Release Everything
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By    |   Tuesday, 16 Jun 2015 11:02 PM

Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby is making an unusual – and some say nervy – request to either block defense lawyers from leaking evidence in the Freddie Gray case or work out a deal to post it all online.

In the Circuit Court filing, prosecutors said they'd rather see the data, including an autopsy report – all of which has to be given to defense lawyers by June 26 – dumped online all at once than have it selectively leaked, the Baltimore Sun reports.

"Indeed, if the defendants were to consent and the court would so order, the State would have no objection to posting the entire autopsy report on the Internet, along with all of the discovery in the case," the prosecutors wrote.

"Defendants, however, want to have it both ways. They want the freedom to publicize selected aspects of the discovery, while requiring the State to follow the law that prevents comments in order to ensure a fair trial."

Legal experts told the Sun the request was unusual, and bold – and it's unclear if the prosecutors' legal mandate to protect a defendant's right to a fair trial could be ignored if the defendant gave consent to post evidence online.

"The same rules don't apply to both teams, and there's a reason for that. The state has a higher ethical obligation," defense lawyer and former Baltimore prosecutor Kurt Nachtman told the Sun.

"The state has more power over swaying the general public than defense attorneys do. When the general public hears a defense attorney talk, they just think, 'Oh he's just advocating for his client.' The state has the power and the authority to protect the fight for justice."

St. Mary's College political scientist Todd Eberly told the newspaper he agreed, adding:

"There are limits on the prosecution, and there are limits because it's funded by a government that theoretically has unlimited resources."

"And there are very few [limits] placed on the defense because we operate under the assumption of innocence," he said.

The Sun notes the motion was the latest attempt by Mosby's office to restrict information in the case, but the first to hint it might be open to a data dump online.

Since the officers' indictments last month in the April death of the Gray, who died of injuries he suffered while in police custody, Mosby's office and defense attorneys have battled in court filings over access to information and publicity surrounding the case, the Sun reports.

In the latest filing, Mosby's office argued a protective order to block evidence leaking is necessary because defense attorneys "have demonstrated a likelihood of publicizing discovery materials in a manner that may jeopardize the ability to conduct a fair and impartial trial."

Prosecutors cited a 2003 case in which former Montgomery County State's Attorney Douglas Gansler was sanctioned for making public comments about multiple pending cases he was trying.

But Mosby also came under fire for her high-profile news conference to announce charges in the Gray case.

"You pull a Gansler, and then you cite the Gansler case to justify not letting the defense play the same game?" Eberly told the Sun. "That's chutzpah."

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Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby is making an unusual – and some say nervy – request to either block defense lawyers from leaking evidence in the Freddie Gray case or work out a deal to post it all online.
baltimore, prosecutor, freddie gray, evidence, leaks, internet
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2015-02-16
Tuesday, 16 Jun 2015 11:02 PM
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