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To Catch A Killer: Phylicia Barnes Murder Trial Underway In Baltimore

The trial of Michael Maurice Johnson began in Baltimore Circuit Court today, as jury selection and other proceedings began. Judge Alfred Nance began court by issuing a Media Restriction Order outlining the dos and don’ts for the trial.  The judge’s order mirrors standard restrictions for courtroom etiquette with some adjustments tailored  around sensitive information that will probably be introduced into evidence during the trial. Chiefly, judge Nance restricted the courtroom to media, family of the victim, and family of the accused. The order more than likely was given to minimize the audience for a sex tape prosecutors plan to play during the trial, depicting the Barnes teen engaging in sexual acts with the accused and his younger brother, along with her older half-sibling Deena Barnes. The Restriction Order is listed here in its entirety:

1. The trial in the above captioned case is scheduled to be conducted in Part 22, Courtroom 556, Courthouse East, 111 N. Calvert St, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, Judge Alfred Nance presiding.

2. All persons entering the either courthouse of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City must pass through electronic security devices and submit their equipment to search at the discretion of the sheriff’s department. Members of the media are required to refrain from bringing excess bags or backpacks into the courthouse.

3. No audio or visual recording equipment, press cameras or recording or transmitting equipment shall be permitted in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, except otherwise provided in this order. No tape recorders shall be permitted in the courtroom at any time.

4. Limited pool video or still photographs will not be permitted, unless otherwise directed by the court.

5. From 9 a.m. – 9:25 a.m., before the court begins each day, trial exhibits will be made available to the media for the purpose of this order, unless otherwise ordered by the court. The exhibits shall be available, one time, for the purpose of access by members of the media.

6. Photographs or photocopies of exhibits shall not be allowed.

7. No “live” television, telephone, radio or other broadcast of exhibits shall be permitted during the viewing of exhibits.

8. The courtroom clerk assigned to Part 22 for these proceedings shall serve as coordinator of the viewing of trial exhibits and as custodian of same.

9. Certain trial exhibits shall be handled by court-approved technicians or specialists only.

10. The sheriff shall be present and will remain during the viewing of all exhibits.

11. Members of the media shall not use cellular, text messages, and/or any electronic device within 100 feet of courtroom 556 during the course of these proceedings. No cellular phones containing cameras shall be permitted in the courtroom.

12. Only those members of the media with proper press identification shall be permitted in Part 22, Courtroom 556E during these proceedings. There will be limited reserved seating for the media in the courtroom.

13. The deputy sheriff’s shall monitor the courtroom at all times and they are authorized to remove anyone who violates this security order, media protocol or at the instruction of the court.

14. Counsel for the parties shall be allowed to be present for any activity permitted by this order.

15. The deputy sheriff assigned to Part 22, courtroom 556 for these proceedings, shall establish limited reserved seating in the courtroom for authorized media, members of the victim’s family, and members of the defendant’s families.

16. No one shall be permitted to enter Part 22, Courtroom 556E or remain therein during those proceedings who is wearing any item on his or her person exhibiting any sign which, in the opinion of the court, may tend to influence any juror or affect the orderly administration of these proceedings.

17. No food or drink is permitted in the courtroom.

18. Smoking is not allowed anywhere in the courthouse of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City

19. Under no circumstances are members of the media permitted to contact, photograph or interview jurors during the course of these proceedings.

20. Members of the media shall not photograph vehicles transporting jurors when entering, leaving or standing in or about the areas of Courthouse East of Circuit Court of Baltimore City.

21. The deputy sheriff shall escort members of the jury from the courthouse at the conclusion of trial each day and shall provide the jurors with information on available downtown escort services beyond the courthouse.

22. No court personnel or court-approved specialist shall be recorded, photographed or otherwise depicted in conjunction with the trial exhibits.

23. Members of the Circuit Court staff shall be interviewed regarding these cases.

24. Media conferences of interviews shall not be permitted in Courthouse East.

25. If members of the media believe any aspect of the order is unworkable or inappropriate, they may request modification only if such request is made in sufficient time in advance of the court matter to permit the court to review the proposed modification.

26. Violations of this order will subject the violator to a revocation of all media privileges, and subject to but not limited to the contempt powers of the court.

27. This media protocol order is subject to modification by the trial judge and/or administrative judge of this court at any time. -Judge Alfred Nance

 

The judge also heard discussion regarding a motion prosecutors made requesting to demonstrate how a person the same size as Barnes could fit inside a plastic container that witnesses say they saw Michael Johnson struggling with in the hallway of the building where Barnes was staying on the day she disappeared. The defense objected to the motion, citing the alleged container has never been found, and the two witnesses stories regarding the actual size are contrasting. Judge Nance declined prosecution’s motion to allow a person they had in court to demonstrate how Barnes could have fit inside the container. Nance agreed to hear further discussion on the issue some time later during the trial. The court was closed to the public during jury selection which court officials anticipate will go on for about two days. Sources on the ground in Baltimore say there was no indication if Johnson was actually in court for today’s proceedings, but the long awaited trial to determine if Michael Johnson in fact killed young Phylicia Barnes is now underway. Many from the public have stated they plan to attend the trial in support of the little girl’s family, but those hopes were dashed with the judge minimizing the trial’s audience to family and media. It appears that the public will now have to rely on media accounts of what young Phylicia Barnes’ state of mind was during the time the sex tape incident occurred. The court took action to protect Barnes and another minor child who are depicted in the sex tape with Michael Johnson and Dena Barnes, who were adults at the time of it’s recording. The public had been concerned that the Barnes teen was probably drugged and taken advantage of by the adults who were there that night. Media had reported earlier on during the investigation process that a tape existed only showing Barnes and others streaking nude inside and outside of Deena Barnes’ northwest Baltimore apartment. In recent weeks prosecutors filed a motion requesting the courtroom be closed during the airing of a tape showing that the defendant Michael Johnson also had sex with the child on tape. The prosecution stated at that time that they planned to play the tape during the phase of the trial in when Deena Barnes is being questioned. The defense argued that closing the court room would infringe up their client’s sixth amendment rights, causing the judge to rule against the state’s request for a closed courtroom during that part of the trial. However, the state’s sex tape evidence is a bombshell and appears that more than one tape exist depicting the Barnes teen nude with males. the defense has also publicly stated that the tape helps their case because of reports that the Barnes teen told an older sister she felt uncomfortable around Johnson. The defense says the sex tape refutes that notion, but it still remains to be seen what the child’s state of mind was during the 16 minute 31 second sex tape. Prosecutors have already publicly stated that Barnes appeared with others on the tape intoxicated and engaged in sexual relations. If the child appears to be void of her full bearing, the tape will more than likely hinder the defense, and strengthen the state’s case proving that Johnson had a thing for the pretty little girl as they have alleged. Additionally, the defense has other issues they must overcome. Prosecutors intercepted calls with Johnson overheard stating “what if I move to another country like Brazil where I can’t be extradited to face murder charges”. The tape will prove to be extremely damaging for Johnson who also attempted to flee when police tried to serve a warrant for his arrest in the Barnes Killing. We’ll have more details as the trial against Michael Johnson continues. We are all still hoping and praying for justice for pretty little Phylicia Simone Barnes.

 

 

The People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

David Adams

Self proclaimed geek, Advocate for the homeless, Social Change, Crime Blogger, and mobile technology enthusiast. A recognized Journalist and Human Interest Writer championing the plight of the masses whom are without a voice of their own.

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The trial of Michael Maurice Johnson began in Baltimore Circuit Court today, as jury selection and other proceedings began. Judge Alfred Nance began court by issuing a Media Restriction Order outlining the dos and don’ts for the trial.  The judge’s order mirrors standard restrictions for courtroom etiquette with some adjustments tailored  around sensitive information that will probably be introduced into evidence during the trial. Chiefly, judge Nance restricted the courtroom to media, family of the victim, and family of the accused. The order more than likely was given to minimize the audience for a sex tape prosecutors plan to play during the trial, depicting the Barnes teen engaging in sexual acts with the accused and his younger brother, along with her older half-sibling Deena Barnes. The Restriction Order is listed here in its entirety:

1. The trial in the above captioned case is scheduled to be conducted in Part 22, Courtroom 556, Courthouse East, 111 N. Calvert St, Baltimore, Maryland 21202, Judge Alfred Nance presiding.

2. All persons entering the either courthouse of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City must pass through electronic security devices and submit their equipment to search at the discretion of the sheriff’s department. Members of the media are required to refrain from bringing excess bags or backpacks into the courthouse.

3. No audio or visual recording equipment, press cameras or recording or transmitting equipment shall be permitted in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, except otherwise provided in this order. No tape recorders shall be permitted in the courtroom at any time.

4. Limited pool video or still photographs will not be permitted, unless otherwise directed by the court.

5. From 9 a.m. – 9:25 a.m., before the court begins each day, trial exhibits will be made available to the media for the purpose of this order, unless otherwise ordered by the court. The exhibits shall be available, one time, for the purpose of access by members of the media.

6. Photographs or photocopies of exhibits shall not be allowed.

7. No “live” television, telephone, radio or other broadcast of exhibits shall be permitted during the viewing of exhibits.

8. The courtroom clerk assigned to Part 22 for these proceedings shall serve as coordinator of the viewing of trial exhibits and as custodian of same.

9. Certain trial exhibits shall be handled by court-approved technicians or specialists only.

10. The sheriff shall be present and will remain during the viewing of all exhibits.

11. Members of the media shall not use cellular, text messages, and/or any electronic device within 100 feet of courtroom 556 during the course of these proceedings. No cellular phones containing cameras shall be permitted in the courtroom.

12. Only those members of the media with proper press identification shall be permitted in Part 22, Courtroom 556E during these proceedings. There will be limited reserved seating for the media in the courtroom.

13. The deputy sheriff’s shall monitor the courtroom at all times and they are authorized to remove anyone who violates this security order, media protocol or at the instruction of the court.

14. Counsel for the parties shall be allowed to be present for any activity permitted by this order.

15. The deputy sheriff assigned to Part 22, courtroom 556 for these proceedings, shall establish limited reserved seating in the courtroom for authorized media, members of the victim’s family, and members of the defendant’s families.

16. No one shall be permitted to enter Part 22, Courtroom 556E or remain therein during those proceedings who is wearing any item on his or her person exhibiting any sign which, in the opinion of the court, may tend to influence any juror or affect the orderly administration of these proceedings.

17. No food or drink is permitted in the courtroom.

18. Smoking is not allowed anywhere in the courthouse of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City

19. Under no circumstances are members of the media permitted to contact, photograph or interview jurors during the course of these proceedings.

20. Members of the media shall not photograph vehicles transporting jurors when entering, leaving or standing in or about the areas of Courthouse East of Circuit Court of Baltimore City.

21. The deputy sheriff shall escort members of the jury from the courthouse at the conclusion of trial each day and shall provide the jurors with information on available downtown escort services beyond the courthouse.

22. No court personnel or court-approved specialist shall be recorded, photographed or otherwise depicted in conjunction with the trial exhibits.

23. Members of the Circuit Court staff shall be interviewed regarding these cases.

24. Media conferences of interviews shall not be permitted in Courthouse East.

25. If members of the media believe any aspect of the order is unworkable or inappropriate, they may request modification only if such request is made in sufficient time in advance of the court matter to permit the court to review the proposed modification.

26. Violations of this order will subject the violator to a revocation of all media privileges, and subject to but not limited to the contempt powers of the court.

27. This media protocol order is subject to modification by the trial judge and/or administrative judge of this court at any time. -Judge Alfred Nance

 

The judge also heard discussion regarding a motion prosecutors made requesting to demonstrate how a person the same size as Barnes could fit inside a plastic container that witnesses say they saw Michael Johnson struggling with in the hallway of the building where Barnes was staying on the day she disappeared. The defense objected to the motion, citing the alleged container has never been found, and the two witnesses stories regarding the actual size are contrasting. Judge Nance declined prosecution’s motion to allow a person they had in court to demonstrate how Barnes could have fit inside the container. Nance agreed to hear further discussion on the issue some time later during the trial. The court was closed to the public during jury selection which court officials anticipate will go on for about two days. Sources on the ground in Baltimore say there was no indication if Johnson was actually in court for today’s proceedings, but the long awaited trial to determine if Michael Johnson in fact killed young Phylicia Barnes is now underway. Many from the public have stated they plan to attend the trial in support of the little girl’s family, but those hopes were dashed with the judge minimizing the trial’s audience to family and media. It appears that the public will now have to rely on media accounts of what young Phylicia Barnes’ state of mind was during the time the sex tape incident occurred. The court took action to protect Barnes and another minor child who are depicted in the sex tape with Michael Johnson and Dena Barnes, who were adults at the time of it’s recording. The public had been concerned that the Barnes teen was probably drugged and taken advantage of by the adults who were there that night. Media had reported earlier on during the investigation process that a tape existed only showing Barnes and others streaking nude inside and outside of Deena Barnes’ northwest Baltimore apartment. In recent weeks prosecutors filed a motion requesting the courtroom be closed during the airing of a tape showing that the defendant Michael Johnson also had sex with the child on tape. The prosecution stated at that time that they planned to play the tape during the phase of the trial in when Deena Barnes is being questioned. The defense argued that closing the court room would infringe up their client’s sixth amendment rights, causing the judge to rule against the state’s request for a closed courtroom during that part of the trial. However, the state’s sex tape evidence is a bombshell and appears that more than one tape exist depicting the Barnes teen nude with males. the defense has also publicly stated that the tape helps their case because of reports that the Barnes teen told an older sister she felt uncomfortable around Johnson. The defense says the sex tape refutes that notion, but it still remains to be seen what the child’s state of mind was during the 16 minute 31 second sex tape. Prosecutors have already publicly stated that Barnes appeared with others on the tape intoxicated and engaged in sexual relations. If the child appears to be void of her full bearing, the tape will more than likely hinder the defense, and strengthen the state’s case proving that Johnson had a thing for the pretty little girl as they have alleged. Additionally, the defense has other issues they must overcome. Prosecutors intercepted calls with Johnson overheard stating “what if I move to another country like Brazil where I can’t be extradited to face murder charges”. The tape will prove to be extremely damaging for Johnson who also attempted to flee when police tried to serve a warrant for his arrest in the Barnes Killing. We’ll have more details as the trial against Michael Johnson continues. We are all still hoping and praying for justice for pretty little Phylicia Simone Barnes.

 

 

The People’s Champion

I’m David Adams

David Adams

Self proclaimed geek, Advocate for the homeless, Social Change, Crime Blogger, and mobile technology enthusiast. A recognized Journalist and Human Interest Writer championing the plight of the masses whom are without a voice of their own.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInGoogle Plus

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