Witness Fear Trumps Justice in Baltimore

Juror recounts story worthy of HBO’s ‘Wire’
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2007 7:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – One witness to a double Baltimore police shooting reversed his story in the courtroom and another was driven to tears before publicly repeating what she’d told authorities after the incident. A juror in the eventual mistrial describes his experience in Oxford American, writing that witness intimidation—the defendant sat within arm’s reach of witnesses—was a far more potent force than the pursuit of truth.

In a real-world replay of events depicted on HBO’s “The Wire,” forensics were insufficient to prove guilt, and the shooter must have been spotted fleeing by many witnesses. But street rules—in the city that birthed the catchphrase "stop snitchin’"—had more meaning to bystanders than Maryland laws, and the only person to come forward was the one “naïve and foolish enough” to spurn the dynamic.