A prosecutor has a legal obligation to turn over evidence to the defense, even if it is exculpatory. It appears that she is denying the defense the information that she is required to give them, in addition to trying to control what information gets out there. There is no legal reason that I can see to file a protective order on the autopsy, which should be a public document once complete.
Via Baltimore Sun
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby plans to seek a protective order blocking the release of Freddie Gray’s autopsy and other “sensitive” documents as she prosecutes the six police officers involved in his arrest.
Mosby discussed that intention in a court filing Monday, in which she also asked the court for more time to respond to defense motions that she and her office be removed from the case and that the case be tried outside of Baltimore.
The move is the lastest effort by Mosby’s office to restrict information in the high-profile case. Her office has also sought a gag order, which would prevent those involved in the case from discussing it in public, and broken with tradition by not providing the autopsy report to Baltimore Police.
Defense attorneys have also been denied an outline of evidence and claims against the officers, and have not been allowed to inspect a knife that was taken from Gray during his arrest, they said in a response filing on Wednesday.
Asked why a protective order is needed, Mosby said in a statement to The Baltimore Sun that she and the attorneys in her office “have a duty to ensure a fair and impartial process for all parties involved,” and “will not be baited into litigating this case through the media.”
One of the defense attorneys, Ivan Bates, said in an interview that the effort to get a protective order is a sign that “there is something in that autopsy report that they are trying to hide.”
“Mrs. Mosby is the one who did an announcement discussing what she said the evidence was in a nationally televised speech, and now that it is time to turn over the evidence, to ask for a protective order is beyond disingenuous,” said Bates, who represents Sgt. Alicia White. “It’s as if she wants to do everything to make sure our clients do not get a fair trial.”
Bates said the protective order would allow only the state and the officers’ attorneys to see the documents, and could require all new filings in the case that make reference to information in the documents to be sealed.
In that way, it would be even more restrictive of transparency in the case than a gag order, he said.
“Nobody would know anything but the state and the defense, so they would totally hide it from the public,” Bates said. “If your case is as good as you said it was, why don’t you just show the evidence? …You can’t holler and say, ‘I’m about accountability for the citizens,’ and then run around filing for a protective order.”