A coalition of Baltimore and national media outlets has intervened in court to call for broader transparency and increased access to legal documents in the prosecution of the Baltimore police officers in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, reports the Baltimore Sun. The group yesterday asked for access to sealed documents, trial transcripts, evidence, and future moments during trials when jurors leave the courtroom to view evidence. It also asked the court to refrain from admonishing jurors not to talk about their experiences after their service is concluded, as Judge Barry Williams did with jurors in the recent trial of officer William Porter.
“Especially in a case like this, it’s critical that the process be as transparent as possible, and we think there are a number of areas where transparency can be improved,” said Nathan Siegel, an attorney for the media coalition. “They are issues that came up in the course of the first Porter trial. We thought the best thing to do was to try to address them now before the same issues arise” in the subsequent trials. The Sun has reported that sealed documents are being filed in the officers’ cases, and that Williams had asked the 12-member jury panel in Porter’s trial not to talk about their experiences after the trial’s conclusion. Yesterday, more sealed documents were discovered in the case against officer Caesar Goodson Jr. In addition to the Sun, the coalition includes Bloomberg News, Hearst Stations, Inc., ABC News, Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, The Guardian, NBC News, Sinclair Broadcast, Inc., The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, WJZ, WMAR, and the Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press.