Criminal Justice

Another cop opts for bench trial in case over in-custody death of arrestee Freddie Gray

  • Print.

After the acquittal last month by a Maryland judge of a police officer charged with four misdemeanors in the high-profile death of Freddie Gray, another Baltimore police officer has also opted to be tried by the same judge.

However, officer Caesar Goodson Jr. is facing a felony case, including a charge of depraved-heart murder, over the arrestee’s fatal injury while in custody last year. So Goodson, 46, is at least arguably taking a bigger risk by forgoing a jury and having Circuit Judge Barry Williams decide his case, the Baltimore Sun reports.

The trial is expected to begin later this week.

“It’s always surprising when an accused person opts to be judged by the court and not by the community of jurors,” law professor Douglas Colbert of the University of Maryland told the newspaper. “And yet, in the relatively rare instances where police officers are defendants, they have consistently opted for judge trial—with very good results for the defendants.”

Gray, who was handcuffed and shackled but had not been buckled into a seat belt, suffered a broken neck and a spinal cord injury at some point after his arrest. He was found unresponsive when the police van reached its destination and died a week later. Goodson was the officer behind the wheel.

Hat tip: Reuters.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.