Court of Appeals to consider retrial of police officer

April 16, 1994|By From Staff Reports

The Maryland Court of Appeals has agreed to decide whether Baltimore Police Officer Edward T. Gorwell III can be retried for manslaughter in the shooting death last year of a teen-ager.

The Baltimore state's attorney had appealed the case to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, the state's intermediate appellate court. But the Court of Appeals, Maryland's highest court, decided to rule on whether a second trial would violate the officer's double-jeopardy protections.

The seven-member panel will decide whether Baltimore Circuit Judge Ellen M. Heller made a mistake by ruling that Officer Gorwell cannot be retried for manslaughter in the April 17, 1993 death of 14-year-old Simmont Donta Thomas.

When the case was tried, a mistrial was declared when a juror failed to show up during deliberations and was disqualified. Judge Heller ruled last Nov. 19 that a second trial of Officer Gorwell, who now serves on the police force, would be unconstitutional.

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