Officers Charged in Freddie Gray Death


Anchorwoman: …the protests and rioting. So, let’s discuss, now, these trials, particularly the one that begins tomorrow of Officer Porter. Joining me right now is criminal defense attorney and constitutional attorney, Page Pate. All right, Page, so this is very fascinating because we’re now going to see six separate trials, as opposed to one trial involving these six officers. To whose advantage is this set up?

Page: Well, I think it’s to the advantage of the defense team. In fact, they asked for this. They wanted the trials separated so that the jury could focus on each individual officer and what involvement that officer had in the death. When you bring a bunch of people together and you’re trying them in a very serious, high-profile case like this, there’s always the chance that there could be some prejudice, some overspill. “We really think Freddie Gray’s death should be…somebody should be held accountable for it, and we’re going to hold them all accountable.” This helps the jury focus on each individual officer.

Anchorwoman: And something else, potentially, or maybe answer, does it help the jury, and the jury selection, that you’ve got the judge, Judge Barry, who is now ordering that the identities of the jurors, the prospective jurors, be kept secret? And is this in large part because if you have any jurors who come from the area, the neighborhood where Freddie died or sustained his injuries? Many people have already said, in so much of the reporting that we’ve done and other networks have done, that people don’t trust the police, they feel intimidated by, they don’t want to be forthright with information. So now, identities are being kept secret.

Page: Right.

Anchorwoman: Does that assist in selecting jurors who are indeed that of the peers?

Page: Well, the idea is, it will help the jury make a fair and unbiased decision at the end of the day. If you’re on that jury and you’re concerned that, “Hey, if we acquit this officer and the public responds by protest, or they’re upset, are they going to direct that at me because they know who I am and I was on the jury that let this officer go?” If you protect their identity and the public doesn’t know the individual jurors, then I think they’ll feel more, not relaxed, but at least comfortable that they won’t be personally accountable for whatever decision is at the end of the trial.

Anchorwoman: Okay. And so, now, you’re representing…so, you’re representing Officer William Porter, and he is accused of refusing medical help to Freddie Gray and did not give him a seatbelt although he was handcuffed and shackled. So, if you’re the attorney, jury is seated, what is your best defense? How do you defend those allegations?

Page: Well, the State has to prove that Officer Porter knew that Freddie Gray was injured and he didn’t do anything about it. Some of the good facts for Officer Porter is that he did report what Freddie Gray told him about his injuries, both to the driver and another officer who arrived on the scene. So, if I’m representing Officer Porter, I’m going to remind the jury that he didn’t keep quiet. He did tell somebody else.

Anchorwoman: So, that relays some responsibility, now, to someone else.

Page: Exactly, and that’s why the prosecution wanted to try this officer first. They want to use him as a witness against the other officers in these trials that are going to come forward next year. They were hoping, I think, that he would agree to a guilty plea, to testify on behalf of the prosecution. So, they’re thinking, “Maybe if we can convict him, that he will agree to be a witness for us.”

Anchorwoman: And lastly, real quick, this, whatever the outcome is, you see it impacting the other five, no matter what?

Page: Oh, no question. I think the first thing is, in jury selection, “Can we get a fair and unbiased jury? If not, are we going to have to move the trial for the other officers? And, if we convict Porter,” and I think they have the weakest case against Porter, “will the other officers plead guilty?”

Anchorwoman: All right, Page Pate, thanks so much. We’ll talk again about this because, again, jury selection tomorrow.

Page: Thanks.

Anchorwoman: Appreciate it. All right, we’ll be right back.

Will Ferguson Officer Be Charged?


Christi: Meanwhile, angry protesters and Ferguson, they say they want justice and they’re calling for the arrest of this man, Darren Wilson. He’s the officer who shot and killed unarmed teen, Michael Brown. Will he be forced to testify? Up next, we’re gonna ask legal expert, Page Pate, what he would tell Wilson if he was his defense attorney.

While we are learning more about the investigation into the death of unarmed teen, Michael Brown, let’s get over to Victor Blackwell. He’s on the ground there in Ferguson this morning. Victor, what have you learned?

Victor: Well, we’re learning, and of course, we’ve known for some time, the FBI is here in Ferguson. Well, sources tell CNN that the FBI has now interviewed more than 200 people in the community, and has knocked on more than 400 doors here, and officials are also investigating recent cyber-attacks against local law enforcement. This morning, we know more about the makeup of the grand jury weighing this case as well. According to a St. Louis court administrator, of the panel of 12, 3 are African-American, one male, two females. Overnight, it was a peaceful night here in the community so that’s some good news. Protesters were still on the streets, but there were no arrests. Today, also in a sign of solidarity with the people of Ferguson, there are several rallies scheduled including one in Washington, D.C. and supporters of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown, they’re speaking out as well. They’re expected to gather in St. Louis later today and all of this, we have to remember that there is a family at the center of this that is grieving.

Brown’s funeral is scheduled for Monday, the same day Ferguson students are scheduled to a return to school in this community. And, you know, Christi, that according to the prosecuting attorney, it could take another two months before the grand jury decides whether this case should be brought to trial.

Christi: Yeah, they were saying October and that decision’s expected to be a tricky one, primarily because there are so many different eyewitness accounts on what actually happened. So, let’s talk about this with criminal defense attorney, Page Pate. Page, thank you so much for being with us so early in the morning right now on a Saturday.

Page: You’re very welcome.

Christi: Let me read to you if you would please, something that you wrote actually, about Officer Darren Wilson’s legal defense just so we can give some background here. You wrote, “The investigators who will be reviewing this case will likely be predisposed to believe the officer’s version of the events and the citizens serving on any grand jury or trial jury may be predisposed to defer to the officer’s judgment. Convicting Officer Wilson of any crime in this case will be much more difficult than some people are assuming.”

Do you think charges will be brought and what makes it so difficult?

Page: Well, that’s a very good question. I think it’s particularly difficult for a state grand jury to indict them. Let’s remember number one, the makeup of this grand jury. We know that it’s majority, white, and we know that there’s a minority African-Americans on it. When you come in to a grand jury, you can come in with your own biases, your own predispositions about what you think about the particular case, unlike a trial jury, where they don’t let someone serve on that jury if they’ve already made up their mind.

So in my experience, and I’ve represented several officers in excessive force cases, once the jurors hear from the officer and if they believe that officer, and if his explanation make sense, they’re gonna defer to him. They know it’s a tough job and they put themselves in the shoes of the officer and they say, “Look, I don’t wanna be in that position. We trust you to do the right thing,” and if he appears to be somewhat remorseful that what happened happened, I think they’re gonna defer to him. I really do.

Victor: Hey, Page, if you were advising Officer Wilson, you know, thus far, we’ve not heard from him. We’ve heard from a woman named Josie, who CNN has confirmed that that’s the story he’s telling, but would you advise him to come out and tell his side of the story or continue to stay quiet?

Page: Well, Victor, at this point, I would advise him to go ahead and get his story out there. We know he’s already given at least two statements to investigators, so it’s not like he’s not gone on the record yet, he has. And I think this district attorney’s going to offer him the very unique opportunity of appearing before the grand jury. That doesn’t happen in every case. So, I think you need to go ahead and get your statement out there, tell people why you did what you did, and be prepared to go into the grand jury and tell them the same thing because if you do it, and it’s believable, then I don’t think this grand jury will indict him.

Christi: Well, we know that investigators have spoken to hundreds of people. These witnesses and so many of them have different accounts. How do you reconcile and decipher the truth from all of those accounts?

Page: Well, I think that’s gonna be difficult and that’s another reason why I think this grand jury’s gonna have a hard time indicting him. Most of the time, a prosecutor will only present their best witnesses to a grand jury. It’s a one-sided affair. They’re gonna take the best witnesses they have to go ahead and get that indictment, but in this case, the district attorney said, “I’m gonna let him hear everything. I’m gonna let him hear all the evidence.” So, they’re gonna hear these witnesses who have inconsistent statements, not just with each other, but with themselves sometimes.” And I think it’s gonna be difficult especially if the officer has one consistent, credible story about what happened. It’s always the prosecution’s burden and I think it’s a tough one to meet here.

Christi: Victor?

Victor: The prosecutor, Page, has said that this could take until mid-October and we know that this sometime takes…takes some time. The grand jury’s presented with all the evidence and then they have to decide and that means it could be another two months until charges are brought in this case. Do you think that it will quiet the community and calm things down here knowing that things are happening, or do you think just the wait and no response, no answer will incite more protests?

Page: Well, I think it’s tough to tell right now. I mean, we’ve seen the protest continue, although I think they’ve been not nearly as potentially violent that they have been in the past, but this will take some time, and let’s assume for a second this grand jury does not indict him, then we’re talking about a federal investigation, which I think will take even more time. In my experience with these federal grand jury investigations into excessive force, we’re not just talking months. Sometimes, these investigations will last for a year or more. So I just don’t know if this town can keep it together for that long.

Christi: All righty. Page Pate, thank you so much. Victor, we’re gonna check back in with you here in just a few minutes as well, but we appreciate your time this morning.

Page: Thank you.

Christi: Thank you.

Pill Mill Allegations Against Doctor


News Anchor: Channel Two Action News has uncovered new information after investigators raided a local pain clinic. A warrant we got our hands on reveals the enormous amount of money allegedly taken in by the doctor running the suspected Pill Mill.

Man: Live, local, late Breaking. This is Channel Two Action News at 5:00 p.m. Coverage you can count on.

Erin: Good afternoon, I’m Erin Coleman, in for Jovita Moore.

Justin: I’m Justin Farmer, and an unsealed warrant reveals a doctor brought in more than $1 million a month in what prosecutors call a nationwide scheme. Channel Two’s Rachel Stockman live in Alpharetta. Now, Rachel, you spoke to a security guard who says he’s saw patients then reselling those pills right in the parking lot.

Rachel: Yes, right in the parking lot. This is the pain clinic, where, as you can see, the doors are locked. Federal agents swarm the Innovative Pain Clinic in the seemingly quiet Alpharetta office park. We were the only TV station there last week, and now, only Channel Two Action News has obtained the unsealed warrant that reveals what investigators say went down in Dr. Oscar Stokes’ office.

Guard: California, New York, Utah…

Rachel: These license plates show where the security guard says many patients came from. He patrols the pain clinic on Upper Hembree Road every day.

Guard: I’m seeing just folks coming out with four or five prescriptions in their hands.

Rachel: Every day?

Guard: Every day.

Rachel: Same people?

Guard: Same people.

Rachel: And he says, sometimes, patients resold the pills right in this lot.

Guard: Pills going for $200 a pill.

Rachel: A pill? One pill?

Guard: One pill was going for $200.

Rachel: The warrant says, at times, Dr. Stokes would sign blank prescriptions. Investigators also say, he’d often write 72 prescriptions a day, charge $500 per visit, and rake in more than $1 million a month.

Rachel: That seems odd for a doctor only to take cash.

Page: Well, it is, and it’s not true. Dr. Stokes took insurance. He had a number of insurance patients.

Rachel: Page Pate is Dr. Stokes’ defense attorney.

Page: If his practice doesn’t fit into the mold that these government agents want it to fit into, that doesn’t mean he’s guilty of a crime.

Rachel: As for all those out of state license plates we saw…

Page: You’ve got to remember, clinics all across the country are being shut down. I mean, there are very few doctors who are willing to treat chronic pain patients.

Rachel: Now, even though this clinic has been shut down for several days, that security guard told me this lot was full this morning with patients wanting to get pills. Now, that doctor has entered a not-guilty plea, and he is out on bond. Reporting live in Alpharetta, Rachel Stockman, Channel Two Action News.


Top 40 Under 40
Best Lawyers
Thomas Church
Rated by Super Lawyers

loading ...