Month: December 2015

Yesterday’s Mistrial

The first prosecution in the death of Freddie Gray ended in a mistrial for Baltimore Police Officer William Porter yesterday. It wasn’t exactly unexpected since the jury had sent out a note the day before saying they were deadlocked.

Here are a few of the sketches I did leading up to the judge declaring a mistrial. I have not included the sketch of Judge Barry Williams because it missed the mark – I never did get a good likeness of the judge.

The sketch below was done Monday morning while standing in line to get into the courthouse, but I added the color yesterday and so I include it.

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Closing Statements In First Freddie Gray Trial

Just posting today’s sketches of closing arguments in the trial of Baltimore Police Officer William Porter, and calling it a day.

 

 

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Baltimore Police Officer Testifies In Own Defense

Officer William Porter, on trial for charges relating to the death of Freddie Gray, took the stand on the first day of his defense. I missed his direct testimony which began just as lawyers at the Supreme Court were wrapping up their arguments in a big affirmative action case. But I arrived at the Baltimore courtroom in time to witness the cross-examination by Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow. Officer Porter impressed me as calm and forceful, and maybe even a little defiant. When Schatzow asked him if “stop snitching” was part of the Baltimore police culture Porter shot back, “Absolutely not. I’m actually offended that you would say something like that.”

The defense was done by the end of the week, and tomorrow closing arguments will be made. Then it will be up to the jury.

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The Court Revisits Affirmative Action On Campus

The Supreme Court yesterday heard arguments for the second time in the case of Abigail Fisher, a white student who claims she was denied admission to the University of Texas because of a policy that favored black applicants. Last time the Justices sent the case back to the circuit court, this time Justice Kennedy seemed to toy with the idea of sending it all the way back to the trial court; not likely.

You can read Lyle Denniston’s analysis here.

There’s also a lot of buzz today about Justice Scalia’s remark, “There are ­­those who contend that it does not benefit African ­Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less­ advanced school, … a slower ­track school where they do well.”

Opinion: White v. Woodall, No. 12-794

He probably meant that black students more often come from high schools where the curriculum is less demanding and may be unprepared for UT’s more rigorous course load. While it sounded racist to some, it’s more likely just Scalia being his bad un-PC self.

 

 

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It Was All About Voting

I prepared the banner you see above for SCOTUSblog because the Court was to hear arguments today in two voting related cases, Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission and Evenwel v. Abbott. But I didn’t expect the trifecta that came with Justice Scalia’s opinion in a Maryland voting redistricting case, Shapiro v. McManus, especially since it was argued just last month. My lucky day.

Anyway, here are the sketches from today’s two argument:

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A Correction to Yesterday’s Sketches

Yesterday at the trial of Baltimore police officer William Porter I sketched what I believed were the victim’s mother and sister, but when Freddie Gray’s mother broke down sobbing and had to leave the courtroom I realized I had been mistaken. That is not Freddie Gray’s mother in the sketch, though I do think that is Gray’s sister with the white pom pom hat.

Here are the rest of yesterday’s sketches:

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First Freddie Gray Trial Gets Underway

This morning the press gathered in the Media Room before final jury selection.

The jury was empanelled in short order and opening statements were heard. Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby took a seat directly in front of a bench full of sketch artists, but maybe thought that wasn’t such a good idea and moved back a couple of rows just before Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow began his opening statement.

 

Defense attorney Gary Proctor painted the jury a different picture of the defendant, Officer William Porter.

 

With opening statements completed, the State called their first witness, Officer , who trains police on how to identify and respond to possible medical conditions such as Freddie Gray’s.

 

The judge has kept the trial moving swiftly and promises to finish in just two weeks. We shall see.

 

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