BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Judge Barry Williams is reviewing evidence in the trial of Lt. Brian Rice. Rice is the highest ranking officer charged in connection with the connection with the death of Freddie Gray.
Mary Bubala reports a verdict is expected Monday.
It’s a position Judge Barry Williams has been in twice before after officers Caesar Goodson and Edward Nero also chose a bench trial. Judge Williams will decide Rice’s guilt or innocence based on the cases presented by both sides.
Prosecutors say Officer Rice failed as a leader and that he didn’t care if Gray lived or died. The defense says Gray was combative and it was too dangerous to secure him with a seat belt.
Judge Williams has expressed doubt in past trials whether not using a seat belt on a prisoner is a crime.
“It’s never a good thing for the prosecution when the judge still appears to be confused as to what the state’s theory is,” said lawyer and courtroom observer Warren Alperstein.
Judge Williams is deliberating on these three charges for Lt. Rice: involuntary manslaughter, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.
“Seeing six officers one after another being tried in our city is historic. Its precedent. We’ve never seen a prosecutor before who wants to convince a judge that the officers’ action or failure to take action are worthy of a conviction,” said University of Maryland law professor Doug Colbert.
Prosecutors are 0 for 3 in attempts to convince officers so far. Despite their losses in the courtroom, prosecutors have shown no sign of abandoning the cases. The next trial of Officer Garrett Miller is scheduled to start on July 27.
There will be live coverage of the verdict on Monday starting at 10 a.m.