In June 2004, 16-year-old Maurice Johnson was shot and wounded in the chest during an argument with another man in Baltimore, Maryland.
Nineteen-year-old Darron Goods was arrested and charged with attempted murder a month later after a witness identified him in a photographic lineup. No weapon was recovered.
Goods went on trial in Baltimore City Circuit Court in August 2005. The witness testified and identified Goods as the gunman. The prosecution did not call Johnson as a witness, even though he was the victim, because when he regained consciousness, he said he didn’t know who shot him. The defense argued there was insufficient evidence to convict Goods, but a jury found him guilty on August 10, 2005.
In November 2005, Circuit Judge Alfred Nance set aside the conviction and ordered a new trial after conducting a hearing on a post-conviction motion brought by Catherine Flynn, a new attorney hired by Goods’ family.
At the hearing, Johnson testified that if called as a witness, he would have testified that Goods was not the gunman. Goods’ defense attorney at the trial had not called Johnson because he said he couldn’t find him; it turned out Johnson was in juvenile detention. The prosecution, which had not informed the defense of Johnson’s statement that he could not remember who shot him, argued that Johnson refused to cooperate with the prosecution and that they were not obligated to call the victim as a witness.
Judge Nance disagreed and said the prosecution’s characterization of the victim as uncooperative was “not the truth.” The judge said the defense “could have or should have” interviewed the victim before the trial.
In 2006, Goods went on trial a second time. Johnson testified that he knew Goods prior to the shooting and that Goods was not the man who shot him. On July 25, 2006, following Johnson’s testimony, the prosecution dismissed the case in the middle of the trial.
Three years later, Goods, along with others, was convicted in federal court of taking part in a Baltimore drug ring. Goods and another defendant were accused of fatally shooting an informant who was cooperating with the federal investigation of the drug ring. Goods was sentenced to life in prison.
– Maurice Possley