I was surprised by the hung jury in the William Porter trial

William Porter was charged with manslaughter, assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment based on his failure to get medical help for a critically wounded Freddie Gray. The jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict, so the judge declared a mistrial.

I was surprised by the hung jury because it seemed to me that Porter admitted that (1) he did not restrain a hand-cuffed Freddie Gray with a seat belt and (2) he ignored Gray’s request for medical assistance in violation of departmental rules. Those rules were specifically designed to prevent the type of harm that Gray suffered. Therefore, he was culpably negligent, if not reckless, for Gray’s injuries and death.

Consider, for example, what might happen to a parent whose infant child was killed in an auto accident because he failed to secure the child in a safety seat. That’s culpably negligent manslaughter.

What happens next?

The prosecution has the option of retrying Porter or dismissing the case against him. They also could offer him a plea bargain in which he pleads guilty to a lesser offense or they might immunize him from further prosecution in exchange for his testimony against some or all of the other five defendants.

The decision depends on the nature of the jury split and why they split. The prosecution is far more likely to retry the case, for example, if the majority of the jurors voted to convict Porter, than if the majority voted to acquit him. Also, they are likely to retry the case, if the jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict because they were confused about the evidence or a jury instruction. Confusion can be eliminated with a retrial.

We will not know the nature of or reason for the split because the judge has imposed a gag order to protect the right of each of the other five defendants to a fair trial.

What do you think?

27 Responses to I was surprised by the hung jury in the William Porter trial

  1. bronxlady1 says:

    Most if not all officers are protected from prosecution by immunity.

  2. roderick2012 says:

    I still can’t believe the centerpiece of the defense was to “we all do it or in this case none of us do it” by parading various BPD officers to the stand and have them testify that they regularly ignore procedures.

    If I had been on the jury I would have convicted him on that phuckery alone so there was obviously one juror who was never going to convict the defendant regardless what he did.

  3. roderick2012 says:

    One factor the professor didn’t mention is the value of the victim.

    As we saw in the George Zimmerman trial the defense will put the victim on trail and blame Trayvon for his own death.

    When the victim is too young to have had a record as in the case of Tamir Rice the so-called ‘librul’ media will play the sins of the father card as the local newspaper in Cleveland published the fact Tamir’s father had been arrested for domestic violence and his mother had been arrested for drug possession.

    Of course this was to devalue Tamir’s young life and to give a shoulder shrug to the loss of the life of another young black male.

    The D.A. in the Tamir Rice case even implied that Tamir’s mother had won the ghetto lottery because she will probably receive some type of monetary settlement.

    • gblock says:

      Yes, plenty of people have tried to paint Trayvon Martin’s parents as gold diggers who cared more about what they could get out of his death than they did about him.

      • Anyone who argues that a parent should not sue a person or organization that is legally responsible for the death of their child is an idiot whose opinion is irrelevant to intelligent and thoughtful discourse.

  4. girlp says:

    Off subject, but I am over Dr. Drew, he is either condescending or naive, he wants the Muslims and AA’s to ease White Americas mind when he is the one who has created the myths or exaggerations and buy’s into the authentication of iffy studies done on crimes committed in the United States, how can most studies be taken at face value when some of the institutions admit their stats may be skewed by implicit bias. And why am I responsible for something someone else did or did not do just because we are the same race. He won’t come out and admit it but he greatly admires Trump even though Trump is a crook…a thief and a slumlord. Dr. Drew never vets people or verifies stats. I thought he was well educated I guess not. Should have seen his face when he realized that David Duke was still a supremacist…that was classic

  5. ladystclaire says:

    I sure hope this is not another, FIX being in play, as in the Fogen murder trial!!! That man was injured long before he was placed in that van. In fact, they were dragging him to the van and, those three officers were very involved in his death!!!!!!

    • girlp says:

      He was injured he was screaming in pain and could barely lift his legs to get in the van, it was clear to me he was hurt.

    • Carlyle Moulton says:


      It is clear that the wrong police are being prosecuted, it is the arresting police who did the damage or most of the damage and if indeed the failure to seatbelt and alleged rough ride did more damage it was fatal only because of that done previously.

  6. bettykath says:

    The reports that I have heard from MSM is that there were two conflicting stories about what happened and they (MSM) really don’t know what happened. But I’m with you. He admitted, imo, to reckless endangerment. I accept that it was criminal neglect, especially since Gray died from injuries. It seemed to me that Gray’s initial serious injury, and perhaps his spinal injury, was at the take-down prior to his arrest for being Black.

    • Malisha says:

      The video of him being dragged into the van definitely showed a critically injured man. I’m not believing this case is going along properly. That man was grievously injured before he took the “rough ride.”

      • bettykath says:

        Ethan Couch who killed 4 people and paralyzed another by driving drunk but got probation and no jail time due to “affluenza” is missing and a warrant for his arrest has been issued. Seems his probation officer hasn’t been able to get in touch with him or his mother.

      • bettykath says:

        Not sure why my Ethan Couch ended up where it did. Oh, well.

        Yes, Gray was severely injured before being put in the van but the officers who made the arrest are NOT the officers who have been charged. The officer who have been charged are those who were at the van at the stops.

        • gblock says:

          Does anyone know: if it looks like Gray was severely injured, possibly with a spinal injury, why weren’t the officers involved charged?

  7. girlp says:

    He should have been found guility of the lesser charge at least. You get a ticket for not wearing a seat belt. You do not handcuff and shakle someone (which he should not have been arrested in the first place) and put them unbuckled in a car or van. He could not brace himself in anyway even if they had not given him “the ruff ride” he still could have been seriously hurt at the very least.

  8. The Raven says:

    Nullification: it’s not just a bad idea; it’s the law.

    Are the jurors allowed to talk about their deliberations now? I would like to know what they say.

  9. racerrodig says:

    I’m also shocked there was a hung jury and with the evidence I see it seems to me there is a bias issue here. Hate to think so, but that’s what it looks like.

    • Yes, I agree and I suspect the vote may have been 11-1 or 10-2 to convict.

      • Malisha says:

        The problem nowadays is that a stealth juror has plenty of training, from TV, movies, reports in the media. Lying is easy.

        • Two sides to a story says:

          Yep. As in the GZ trial that allowed him to stalk Trayvon Martin and set up the situation that led to his death, there are always folks who are apologists for troublesome LEOs.

        • girlp says:

          Plenty of opinions out there Malisha and we have Faux News, CNN and now MSNBC to blame the victim. Most were questioning whether the DA should have brought charges in the first place saying the evidence is not strong enough. How about chaining someones legs, handcuffing them, throwing them into a van and not buckling them in. We can get a ticket if a passenger is not seat belted but a cop should get away with negligence? Even if they had not given him the “ruff ride” he could have been hurt he had no way to brace himself when the van turned cornors or if the officer had been in an accident. But corporate media loves to put doubts out there about the victim when it comes to law enforcement.

        • I suspect stealth jurors are more common than most people realize. Their willingness to falsely claim they are impartial in order to conceal their intent to impose their preferred outcome on other jurors, regardless of the evidence, constitutes obstruction of justice, which is a crime.

          The ends do not justify the means.

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