On Tuesday, Judge Barry Williams told jurors to keep deliberating in the trial of William Porter for the death of Freddie Gray after they sent him a note saying they were deadlocked, the Baltimore Sun reports. Porter is charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, and misconduct in office.
Williams read from a portion of the jury instructions that had been read at the outset of the deliberations, in which he said the jury must reach a unanimous decision. Without any further comment, Williams told the jury to continue deliberating.
When a jury tells a judge that they can’t reach a verdict, he or she must instruct them to keep deliberating at least once, according to legal experts.
The initial instruction a judge gives to a deadlocked jury is required before a judge can declare a mistrial, said Kurt Nachtman, a former prosecutor who now works in criminal defense in Baltimore.
A jury can find a defendant guilty or not guilty on some charges but not others—the verdict will stand even if a mistrial is declared on the charges over which the jury is deadlocked.
Also on Tuesday, Porter’s lawyers filed a motion—quickly dismissed—asking for a change of venue after Baltimore City Schools CEO Gregory Thornton sent a letter to parents on Monday assuring them that the school district is “taking every precaution” to prevent riots like the ones that rocked the city after Gray’s death in April.