Rice’s selection of a bench trial over facing a jury of his peers is not surprising: Officers Caesar Goodson Jr. and Edward Nero both also chose bench trials earlier this year, and both were acquitted in Gray’s death. Judge Barry G. Williams, who delivered those acquittals, is also presiding over Rice’s case.
(The trial of William Porter, the first officer tried and the only one not to opt for a bench trial, ended with a hung jury.)
Rice was one of the officers who loaded Gray into the prisoner transport van where Gray died, and he is accused of failing to secure Gray with a seatbelt. He has pled not guilty to involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office, and reckless endangerment.
On Monday, the Baltimore Sun published an interview with David Jaros, a University of Baltimore law professor who has given insightful analysis of the previous trials. Despite some unknown factors—such as a statement Rice gave to investigators after Gray’s death, which has not yet been made public—Jaros does not believe the prosecution will win. “My guess is that their case is not significantly stronger, and my expectation is this case will play out like the others have,” he told the Sun.