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  December 11, 2015

Defense Rests its Case in Trial of First Officer Charged With Killing Freddie Gray

University of Maryland Law Professor Doug Colbert gives his analysis of the defense case, closing arguments could begin Monday
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JAISAL NOOR, TRNN: So the defense has rested its arguments in the trial of William Porter. What are your thoughts?

DOUG COLBERT: Well, the defense will make a very strong, reasonable doubt argument. And they'll base it largely on their expert witnesses and on what police practices are regarding not seatbelting prisoners, and making it a matter of discretion for the officer. I think though that what we saw in court today appears to me to reveal the internal struggle that's taking place within the police department. The police commander makes an order about everyone has to belt, and officers, including their expert witness, insist that it's still the officer's call to use discretion, judgment, common sense.

So even in the face of a police commander making an order, there's a great deal of sentiment for allowing police officers to make the call on that.

NOOR: And how would you evaluate how each side performed overall today?

COLBERT: I would have liked to have seen more the--let me put it this way, I would have liked the character references to have talked more about Officer Porter as a police officer than simply as a son or a friend or something like that. And I would have liked the, the prosecution made a good point. I would have probably taken on the last expert witness more than they did here.

NOOR: And what can we expect to see next?

COLBERT: Well, next we're going to see, in all likelihood, closing arguments Monday morning, and that's when both sides are going to put together all the evidence, and they're going to make their most persuasive case in their favor.


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