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Officer Caesar Goodson, right, sits in Baltimore City Circuit Court on Monday morning with Andrew Jay Graham, one of his lawyers. Jury selection was supposed to begin Monday in Goodson’s trial on charges in connection with the death of Freddie Gray but the Court of Special Appeals stayed the trial pending a decision on whether Officer William Porter must testify at Goodson’s trial. (Illustration by Maximilian Franz)

Goodson’s trial stayed pending outcome of Porter testimony dispute

The trial for the officer facing the most serious charge for his alleged role in the death of Freddie Gray was delayed indefinitely Monday morning by a state appellate court.

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals stayed the trial of Officer Caesar Goodson pending the resolution of whether Officer William Porter, whose case ended in a mistrial last month, must testify at Goodson’s trial.

Jury selection for Goodson’s trial was scheduled to begin Monday. The case is now in recess.

The appellate court found “it is presumably in the interests of all parties that appellant’s interlocutory appeal… be decided before the commencement of trial,” according to its order Monday. No appellate proceedings had been scheduled as of Monday evening.

Prosecutors have called Porter a “necessary and material witness” against Goodson. Porter testified at his trial he told Goodson that Gray had requested medical attention. Porter also said he recommended Goodson take Gray to the hospital immediately so that he could be medically cleared and accepted to Central Booking.

Baltimore City Circuit Judge Barry Williams granted the state’s request to compel Porter to testify at Goodson’s trial last week despite arguments by Porter’s attorneys that, due to his pending retrial on manslaughter charges, prosecutors could not adequately safeguard his right against self-incrimination.

Porter’s attorneys appealed Williams’ order, and a stay of Williams’ decision was issued Friday by the intermediate appellate court.

Williams said Monday morning prosecutors had asked for a continuance of Goodson’s case, which the defense opposed, but the issue was moot as a result of the Court of Special Appeals stay.

The Court of Special Appeals will set a deadline for the parties to file briefs on the issue and schedule oral arguments, according to a Judiciary spokeswoman.

The next officer scheduled to go to trial after Goodson, Sgt. Alicia White, had her trial pushed from Jan. 25 to Feb. 8, leaving four weeks for the resolution of Goodson’s case.

The appellate case is State v. Officer Caesar Goodson, 2308/15.

Goodson is charged with second-degree depraved heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, negligent manslaughter by vehicle, criminally negligent manslaughter by vehicle, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.

Second-degree murder is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.