Attempted Homicide Co-Defendants’ Trial Postponed After Prosecutor ‘Overbooked’ Schedule

Baltimore Courthouse

The trial of two men accused of shooting a ballot box guard during the 2020 presidential election was postponed two months on Sept. 15 when Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Melissa Phinn learned that the prosecutor “overbooked” his schedule.

Jamal Simmons and Christopher Winchester were scheduled to begin jury selection on Thursday before Judge John Howard for their impending trial in connection to the shooting on Oct. 15, 2020. The Baltimore Sun previously reported that Baltimore police were called to the 2200 block of Pinewood Avenue just before 5 a.m. and found the victim inside his car with gunshot wounds to his side.

Police learned that the man was guarding a ballot box for the 2020 presidential election outside the Achievement Academy High School in Northeast Baltimore. His injuries were life-threatening, but he was listed as being in stable two weeks later.

During Thursday’s proceedings, Judge Phinn informed the court that she had conversations with the prosecutor assigned to the case about his calendar being “overloaded” and “not properly done.” The judge appeared frustrated as she discussed severing Simmons and Winchester’s trial into two separate trials.

Winchester’s defense attorney, Tony Garcia, told Baltimore Witness the prosecutor was currently in another trial.

“I objected [to the postponement],” Garcia texted a reporter from Baltimore Witness. “It was terrible. I will be ready.”

Alan Cohen, Simmons’ defense attorney, could not be reached for comment.

Judge Phinn rescheduled the trial for Nov. 14 before Judge Howard.