17 December 2015

The Past 48 Hours in Criminal Justice has Been a bit of a Roller Coaster

Yesterday, I looked out the window at work, and saw 2 helicopters hovering about 5000 feet up in the general direction of Lexington Market.

On closer examination, I noticed that they were both news choppers, as I saw the cameras, and I figured that something had happened in the first Freddie Gray trial.

It turned out that we had a hung jury and a mistrial:
A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the case of Baltimore Police Officer William G. Porter after jurors said they had failed to reach an agreement on any of the charges against him in the death of Freddie Gray.

The decision, which came a day after jurors told Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams they were deadlocked, frustrated activists who had watched the first trial in Gray's death closely. Outside the downtown courtroom, city officials and community leaders pleaded for calm, and authorities reported two arrests, but no violence or serious disruptions.

Porter, 26, the first of six police officers to be tried in Gray's death, remains charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office. Gray, 25, died in April after suffering a severe spinal cord injury in the back of a police van.

Jurors deliberated for three days before Williams declared the mistrial. The decision now throws the other trials into flux.

Prosecutors chose to try Porter first, planning to use him as a witness at the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson. Goodson, who is charged with second-degree murder, was slated for trial in the first week of January.
I can't imagine that the States Attorney Marilyn Mosby is not going to announce her intention to retry him soon.

Even ignoring the political overtones, if she gives up, she has no leverage at all about getting him to testify against his superiors.

Even so, it's kind of depressing.

On the other hand, the announcement that "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli had been arrested for securities fraud:
It has been a busy week for Martin Shkreli, the flamboyant businessman at the center of the drug industry’s price-gouging scandals.

He said he would sharply increase the cost of a drug used to treat a potentially deadly parasitic infection. He called himself “the world’s most eligible bachelor” on Twitter and railed against critics in a live-streaming YouTube video. After reportedly paying $2 million for a rare Wu-Tang Clan album, he goaded a member of the hip-hop group to “show me some respect.”

Then, at 6 a.m. Thursday, F.B.I. agents arrested Mr. Shkreli, 32, at his Murray Hill apartment. He was arraigned in Federal District Court in Brooklyn on securities fraud and wire fraud charges.

In a statement, a spokesman for Mr. Shkreli said he was confident that he would be cleared of all charges.

Mr. Shkreli has emerged as a symbol of pharmaceutical greed for acquiring a decades-old drug used to treat an infection that can be devastating for babies and people with AIDS and, overnight, raising the price to $750 a pill from $13.50. His only mistake, he later conceded, was not raising the price more.
The picture of him being hauled off in handcuffs (above) just made my day. (Does this make me a bad person?)

The comment of the day on this comes from the inimitable Charlie Pierce, "I suppose he could argue for a change of venue, but I think it impractical to delay the trial until we make it to Mars."

Honestly, I think that it would be impossible to find a jury that wouldn't want to give him the death penalty for jaywalking.


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