Militarization of Police

Prosecutor in Ryan Frederick Case Wants to Move the Trial

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Ryan Frederick is a 29-year-old Chesapeake, Virginia man who shot and killed a police officer during a drug raid on his home last January.  Police were searching for a major marijuana growing operation an informant had told them they'd find in Frederick's garage.  They found only a few joints in Frederick's living room.

Over the last several months, I've noticed that the web comments to the Virginian-Pilot's coverage of the Frederick case have gone from almost universal calls for Frederick's head on a plate in the days following the raid to, lately, a healthy majority expressing skepticism toward the Chesapeake Police Department, and a pretty strong showing of support for Frederick.

It looks like Special Prosecutor Paul Ebert has noticed, too.

The special prosecutor in the case against Ryan Frederick, the Chesapeake man accused of killing a city detective, wants the murder trial moved out of the Hampton Roads area.

The commonwealth has urged the court for a change of venue from Chesapeake to a court elsewhere in the state. Frederick is to stand trial Jan. 20 in Chesapeake Circuit Court on charges of capital murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana.

Paul Ebert, the commonwealth's attorney from Prince William County appointed to the case, said the trial must be moved because pretrial publicity has made it impossible for the commonwealth to get a fair trial.

Frederick's attorney, James Broccoletti, said he opposes any move, arguing that the citizens of Chesapeake have not only an obligation but a right to sit in judgment in a case of this magnitude.

Actually, what Ebert wants is a knee-jerk jury that will convict upon hearing "marijuana" and "shot a cop," with no further deliberation.

It's pretty rare for a prosecutor to ask for a change of venue.  The good news is that under Virginia law, Ebert isn't likely to get it.  It's probably also bad news for Ebert's case that he's asking for one.

Prior coverage of the Frederick case here.

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  1. Good for the people.

  2. WOW!
    A prosecutor seeking a change of venue almost by definintion means the case is a load of shit.

  3. pretrial publicity has made it impossible for the commonwealth to get a fair trial.

    I don’t know who actually composed that, but the Commonwealth is precisely who should be on trial. It sounds as if the prosecutor has figured it out. And he’s worried.

  4. The Virgian Pilot –

    Paul Ebert, the commonwealth’s attorney from Prince William County appointed to the case, said the trial must be moved because pretrial publicity has made it impossible for the commonwealth to get a fair trial.

    Radley Balko –

    Actually, what Ebert wants is a knee-jerk jury that will convict upon hearing “marijuana” and “shot a cop,” with no further deliberation.

    Paul Ebert would also like to supress any evidence of LEO incompetence and wrongdoing. He should be ashamed of himself.

  5. If local citizens are leaning in favor of a guy who apparently dealt drugs and shot a cop, yeah, the prosecuter might think hard about what he’s actually taking to trial. I certainly hope that the police face up to the consequences of their actions (I’d also like the moon)

  6. They found only a few joints in Frederick’s living room.

    …charges of capital murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana.

    A few joints is intent to distribute?!?

    Radley, I donated to the Mississippi Innocence Project. Is there an organization we can donate to for assistance in Ryan’s defense?

  7. The plot thickens! It looks like this whole thing may blow up in the prosecution’s face. If Frederick is acquitted, it is going to start to look like a Mike Nifong kind of situation.

  8. …….must be moved because pretrial publicity has made it impossible for the commonwealth to get a fair trial.

    Maybe he could cite the clause in the constitution that guarantees the Commonwealth a fair trial. [turns and spits]

  9. “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, a fine man is dead. Someone must pay! But there is no reason it should be the people who actually put him in harm’s way, for no good reason. That would be ridiculous.”

  10. “A few joints is intent to distribute?!?”

    Yes. In fact, possession of a single joint can count as possession with intent to distribute. All distribution means is delivery (handing the marijuana to someone else). Therefore, if someone is smoking a joint with other people, that’s possession with intent to distribute.

  11. Jim Gannon: In fact anyone try here about donating to Ryan.

    http://antipolicemisconduct.meetup.com/37/

  12. Unfortunately, there is no way the the prosecution drops or significantly reduces the charges.

    I mentioned this case to a former prosecutor friend of mine. From everything I could tell, he was an ethical prosecutor, who refused to take on weak cases or make meritless legal arguments when he worked on appeals. However, he told me that in his experiences, “killing a cop” was a deal breaker, even in these circumstances.

  13. I’ll also add that, even as a prosecutor, he told me he distrusted, or was at least skeptical of police officers.

  14. An acquittal would prevent a gross miscarriage of justice. But for justice, we’ll need a few felony convictions of the LEOs responcible, as well as a civil judgment in excess of $100,000.

    I’m not holding my breath for all of that. But I hope to breath a big sigh of relief for the acquittal.

  15. This case underscores the reality that our culture is not a “superior” culture.

  16. libertymike —

    In many other cultures, there would not be press exposing the injustices or people fighting for Mr. Fredericks, or any meaningful restraint on police officers that prevents them from just offing him for shooting “one of their pals in blue”.

    Give me a break. We do *loads better* than a lot of other places. You can’t be serious if you are saying you see no significant difference.

  17. “This case underscores the reality that our culture is not a “superior” culture.”

    Give me a break. Since when did superior become synonomous with perfect?

  18. …pretrial publicity has made it impossible for the commonwealth to get a fair trial.

    That’s fine. As soon as the commonwealth (the cops, prosecutor) are brought up on charges, they’ll deserve a fair trial.

  19. “””An acquittal would prevent a gross miscarriage of justice. But for justice, we’ll need a few felony convictions of the LEOs responcible, as well as a civil judgment in excess of $100,000.”””

    That’s kind of where I stand now. I’ve realized that nothing short of making some of the acts by LEO a crime will help solve the problem.

    Of course they want a venune change, they will try to supress evidence of police misconduct and they need a jury who didn’t hear it from another source. Basically they need people who know nothing about the case so they can paint their own perverted picture of what happened excluding everything they did wrong.

    Thanks for the update.

  20. “””This case underscores the reality that our culture is not a “superior” culture.”””

    What? Is there such a thing? We are better than most cultures on issues of justice. Not to say we are perfect. Give us an example of a more superior culture than our own?

  21. I’ll call it now: Fredrick has as much chance of being acquitted as I do of reaching low-earth orbit by flapping my arms.

    And that sucks.

  22. TWC,

    Quit flinging loogies everywhere.

  23. Also, has anyone read the comments on other news sites? It’s infuriating! I don’t care of Det. Shivers was the fucking Pope, a person who kicks in the door of your private property deserves to get shot.

  24. “for the commonwealth to get a fair trial”

    WTF! The last time I checked “the commonwealth” wasn’t on trial, Ryan Fredrick was. If this wasn’t such a serious case that statement would be freakin hilarious. What is this guy going to say?

    “Judge we would like to move the trial because we know our case is complete BS and we’re afraid the defendant might be acquitted.” What a load.

  25. Yeah, its kind of scary that the prosecutor has the due process guarantee turned on its head, and thinks he’s the one entitled to a fair trial. Let’s hope the rest of his work in this case is of similar quality.

  26. I can’t decide who’s the lowest of the two groups of soul-less scum bags: swat thugs or prosecutors. There are some good cops out there, but I have yet to learn of a single prosecutor who cared about anything other than putting as many people in jail as possible for as long as possible, by whatever means possible.

  27. heh2k –

    Much to my surprise, the new prosecutor for Dallas seems to have non-insane ideas and priorities.

  28. Quit flinging loogies everywhere.

    Uh, ok.

    SmOL

    (smirking out loud)

  29. Much to my surprise, the new prosecutor for Dallas seems to have non-insane ideas and priorities.

    ::Celebrity moment:: I met that guy!

  30. I agree that the new prosecutor in Dallas is all right. But he is a rarity. The rest of them, I admit, I can’t stand.

    They spend their lives putting people in jail. I know that it is a necessary function, but the law is so awful, the results so cruel and arbitrary and unjust…I just hate the whole rotten mess of it.

    Frederick pretty much obviously shot the cop because he thought he was being burglarized. If cops don’t want to get shot, they shouldn’t break into people’s houses without warning (like a burglar, or worse) and behave like criminals. How else is someone supposed to react, late at night, in the dark, with noise and confusion and fear?

    This prosecutor knows all these things. Can you see yourself proceeding with the case, knowing in your heart that this was a mistaken shooting in self defense? There is pressure from the cops and some people in the community to prosecute, but he is in the job to not only prosecute criminals, but to do justice! And he must know this is an unjust prosecution.

    This prosecutor, like most of them, is no good. 95 out of 100 prosecutors in America would probably proceed with a clearly unjust case like this one.

  31. I have been following this case ever since it started. This is just one example of many that I see where police misuse or abuse the increased power given to them in the name of “The War on Drugs”. On the average I see one case like his per month. Many times it is an innocent homeowner who is shot and killed by policetrying to defend his home and family from what he perceives to be a home invasion. This is plain flat out wrong! Using these tactics to catch even the worst drug dealer is not worth one innocent life lost. It is long past time to stop this practice. I think there should be a much higher standard thaan just an affidavit to secure these tyopes of warrants. The police should be made to submit detailed intel about the premises, the occupants, visitors and detiled plans of how they will implement the raid to the Court which must include alternate less violent plans and the reasons why they would not work in order to obtain this type of warrant.

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