Save the Date
Phillip Robinson Winkfield came up for arraignment on drugs and weapons charges in Baltimore City Circuit Court on June 30, when he met his adversary: the chief of the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office narcotics division, Antonio Gioia. Such high-level handling of Winkfield’s case by the city’s top drug prosecutor highlights not so much the seriousness of the charges, for which he is being held without bail, but that they are leveled against a federal judge’s son. His trial is scheduled for September 18.
Winkfield’s mother is U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Deborah Robinson of the District of Columbia, a graduate of Morgan State University, where Winkfield was enrolled at the time of his April arrest (“Just Family,” May 15; “Red-Eye Special,” May 28). The charges resulted from a warrant executed on April 25 at Winkfield’s Northeast Baltimore apartment, where an overnight package suspected of containing marijuana was delivered from California. When the cops came through the door, they found Winkfield; large quantities of cocaine, heroin and marijuana; a cache of weapons, including an assault rifle; and a bullet-proof vest.
Gioia typically has larger fish to fry than Winkfield. The day after the arraignment, for instance, the Sun had front-page coverage of how Gioia had independently investigated two veteran Baltimore City police officers for lying about their detective work, and decided he would no longer use their testimony at trials.
Yet Gioia had the time and inclination to give Winkfield’s arraignment the personal touch. After the defendant was brought in from lock-up, a trial date was picked. Then Gioia warmly shook hands with the defendant’s father, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs lawyer John C. Winkfield, and D.C.-based attorney Robert Mance, who represents Phillip Winkfield, before exiting the courtroom for a brief chat with Mance. (Robinson, who was present for her son’s April bail-review hearing, was absent.) Gioia predicted the trial would take a week.