BALTIMORE, Jan. 11 (UPI) -- A last-minute court order delayed the trial of Baltimore police officer Caesar Goodson, which was scheduled to begin Monday.
Goodson is one of six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, 25, who suffered a broken neck and spinal cord injuries in April while being driven in a police transport van. His death sparked several weeks of demonstrations against police brutality, as well as riots, arson and looting in the city.
The delay by Maryland Court of Special Appeals Judge Peter Krauser puts Goodson's trial, the second of the six trials, indefinitely in recess. Jury selection was to have begun Monday.
At issue is whether Officer William Porter, whose December trial ended with jurors deadlocked and a mistrial declared, can be compelled to testify in Goodson's trial. Porter has been given immunity during testimony in Goodson's trial, and Krauser, in his ruling, wrote that it was "presumably in the interests of all parties" that Porter's appeal, to block a Circuit Court demanding he testify, be resolved before Goodson's trial began.
Prosecutors have referred to Porter as a "material witness" against Goodson and Alicia White, another officer charged in Gray's death. Although they are co-defendants, the officers will get separate trials. A new date for Goodson's trial now depends on when Porter's appeal will be considered and resolved. It is unprecedented in Maryland law for a defendant under immunity to be compelled to testify in a co-defendant's trial, but prosecutors have argued it is within the law.