Monday, June 13, 2016

Judge Finds Prosecutors Withheld Evidence in Freddie Gray Officer Case

The judge overseeing the trial of a police officer charged with murder in the death of Freddie Gray has determined that prosecutors withheld information that would have been beneficial to the defense.

Judge Barry Williams was visibly angry in the Baltimore court, but he did not dismiss the charges against police officer Caesar Goodson, as his attorneys had requested. Williams is giving prosecutors until Monday to disclose any other relevant evidence they have withheld. Goodson was the driver of the van during the arrest of Gray, 25, last year.

Goodson's attorneys have argued that prosecutors withheld statements made last year by Donta Allen, a key witness. Allen was picked up by the Baltimore police van after Gray.

In his original statement to police in April last year, Allen said he heard banging coming from Gray's side of the vehicle. He gave a similar statement in a separate interview with prosecutors a month later, but the state never turned it over as evidence to defense attorneys. Williams found today that prosecutors committed a Brady violation — after Brady v. Maryland, a 1963 Supreme Court decision requiring prosecutors to disclose evidence that would aid the defense — because Allen's May 2015 statement was deemed exculpatory evidence.

“The state doesn’t get to decide whether or not to disclose information,” defense attorney Andrew Graham said. “The state sat on it for over a year. It’s not up to them to make that decision. Even a small piece of evidence may make a difference. It’s not fair to the defense.”

He explained that had Allen’s lawyer, who was present during the second interview, not stepped forward, the defense would not have known about it. According to Graham, Allen’s lawyer didn’t come forward sooner because he felt his first obligation was to maintain his client’s confidentiality.

Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow tried explaining to the judge that the prosecution didn’t think the second interview with Allen was important, calling it a “waste of time.” Schatzow said his team didn’t take notes during that meeting.

Williams has given Schatzow until Monday to turn over any other evidence the state might be withholding from the defense not only as it relates to this case but also in the next four trials.

Goodson’s trial is arguably the highest-profile of the cases; he is the only officer involved in Gray's death facing a murder charge. Officer William Porter's trial ended with a hung jury in December, and he will be retried in September. Officer Edward Nero, who opted for a bench trial, was acquitted last month.


Australia: Free debate more practised on the Right

Jeremy Sammut

There is a debate about public funding of literary journals, and other forms of middle-class cultural welfare such as the opera and the symphony.

But that debate is separate to whether the taxpayer's money that does subsidise the arts and letters is distributed without political bias.

I've been vocal about the Australia Council's decision to de-fund Quadrant magazine.

The Left loves to pay lip service to the ideals of diversity and respect for free inquiry.  But I have found that ideals are more often genuinely practised on the Right.

Ten years ago, Quadrant published an article by me on the White Australia Policy, which was critical of aspects of the book that Keith Windschuttle had written on the subject, and which prompted a typically combative response from him in a subsequent edition.

In the decade since, Quadrant, under Windschuttle's editorship and others, has published a number of articles by me on a range of topics. I can't help wondering if someone who had criticised the work of Robert Manne, say, would get as good a run in The Monthly?

I think the reason the Right tolerates different answers to the same questions without recriminations, and doesn't impose a political bar on those who differ, is that it is more interested in doing good, rather than seeming good by supporting the 'right' causes.

A good example of this may be my critical review in the June edition of Quadrant of Stan Grant's new book, Talking to My Country ­ -- a book universally acclaimed by the Left.

Grant's book argues that entrenched Indigenous disadvantage continues to persist in Australia due to the failure to address the legacy of racism dating back to the original sins of colonisation.

The gist of my response is that Grant has got his history the wrong way round. The major cause of the worst Indigenous disadvantage has been the impact of the policies of Aboriginal Self-Determination, which were implemented in the 1970s to address the historic wrongs of dispossession.

If we take heed of Grant's book, we will believe -- as many on the Left argue -- that the answers to overcoming Indigenous disadvantage lie in continuing to reckon with history by undertaking symbolic Reconciliation via the Recognition and Treaty movements.

To the contrary, the real answers lie in practical Reconciliation -- as has been the central message of the revisionist literature that has reshaped the Indigenous debate over the last 20 years, much of which has been published in Quadrant.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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