As I read portions of the Grand Jury transcript in the shooting death of Michael Brown, it appears that the prosecutors were often defending the actions of Darren Wilson instead of doing their job as prosecutors to obtain an indictment. Allowing Darren Wilson to explain and justify his actions in shooting unarmed 18 year old Michael Brown is not the job of the prosecutor. That’s the job of a defense attorney. The job of a prosecutor is not to present exculpatory evidence or evidence that might negate guilt to the grand jury. The grand jury’s role is not to determine guilt. That’s called a trial. The sole job of a prosecutor during the grand jury process is to obtain an indictment against the perpetrator of a crime for the crimes committed. The prosecutor is not in a neutral role. They are not in a defense role. Their role is to prosecute. Probable cause is the standard by which the grand jury must render an indictment. And probable cause is a very low standard. … [Read more...] about Why did Ferguson Prosecutors Fail to Do Their Job?
Archives for November 2014
As a former prosecutor who has worked in the Grand Jury Unit, no words can express my dismay and disgust at how St. Louis prosecutor Robert McCullough handled the presentation of Michael Brown's killing to the grand jury. There is distrust in the African American and other minority communities at how the criminal justice system appears stacked against them. Actions or lack of actions taken by the St. Louis prosecutor only substantiate those claims that the system is often rigged against African Americans. Whenever there is a flawed system, you will receive flawed results. The question that many ask is what was wrong with presenting every piece of evidence, including reliable and unreliable witnesses to the grand jury for their decision. Well, first the grand jury is not a trial. The saying among prosecutors and defense attorneys is that a prosecutor could indict a ham sandwich. What must be added to that sentence is “if they want to indict.” Prosecutors take cases into the … [Read more...] about Ferguson Grand Jury was a Sham and a Shame
The events unfolding in Ferguson surrounding Michael Brown’s death, the investigation and the Grand Jury procedure brings back a time when the credibility of African Americans were brought into question in court proceedings. Historically, there were periods in American history when a black person could not by law testify for or against a white person. A white person’s credibility was deemed superior to that of a black person. Blacks were not reliable persons to testify. And at many other times since then, the deck has often appeared stacked against a black person when faced with going up against the word of a white person. In the Brown case, several black eyewitnesses say they saw Officer Darren Wilson shoot Brown while surrendering with his hands up. There has been from the beginning what appears to be a case of black testimony as juxtaposed with the majority white police force and Prosecutor McCullough. In a community that is majority African American, the witnesses who … [Read more...] about Ferguson is a Reminder of Our Ugly Past
As Ferguson, Missouri awaits the Grand Jury decision for the killing of Michel Brown, the world watches. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon held a press conference on Tuesday on the anticipated Grand Jury decision in the killing of Michael Brown which could come at any time. As the US and the world await the St. Louis Grand Jury decision on whether to indict Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown, one thing is clear. The Missouri Governor and the law enforcement are expecting the worst and are spreading the tone that the worst will occur. At the press conference today, there was no mention of Michael Brown’s name or his family. There was very little, if any, mention of peaceful protests. There was no mention of how the police learned from their earlier mishaps which resulted in many peaceful protesters including journalists and lawyer observers who were doing their job being arrested. And it is very clear that based on the mood, tone and … [Read more...] about As Ferguson Waits, the World Watches
Despite the fact that Maryland has a 2-1 edge of Democrats over Republicans, Democrat nominee for Governor Anthony Brown managed to lose the election to Republican Larry Hogan, who was virtually unknown when he won last week. And in the wake of Maryland’s gubernatorial election, there are lessons for Hillary Clinton, the hands on unannounced favorite Democratic 2016 Presidential candidate. Being a frontrunner can be a blessing and a curse, as Maryland’s Anthony Brown discovered. While many Democrats shunned the President to campaign for them, Anthony Brown did not shy away from the star power of many Democrat politicians including President Obama, Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton who came to rallies in support of Brown. No amount of star power from other politicians could save the shellacking that Brown received at the hands of Hogan. Brown lost by over 9 percentage points in a heavy Democrat state. Brown did not lose because he aligned himself with party … [Read more...] about A Lesson for Hillary Clinton from Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown’s Loss