St. Louis Grand Jury Indicted, Tried, And Convicted Unarmed Murder Victim Michael Brown

An Arraignment is a formal reading of a criminal charging document in the presence of the defendant to inform the defendant of the charges against him or her. Accordingly, in response to arraignment, the accused (defendant) is expected to enter a plea, such as guilty or not guilty, or through their defense counsel, enter peremptory pleas laying out reasons why a trial cannot and should not proceed. A judge then determines if there is adequate evidence to bind the defendant over for a jury trial. To save time, it is not unusual for a Superior court judge to convene a criminal “Grand Jury” that hears prosecution evidence for why the accused should face charges and be judged by a jury of their peers. A grand jury does not decide guilt or innocence; just if there is enough evidence for a jury trial.

Apparently, the St. Louis County Prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, tasked with setting out reasons and evidence why an accused murderer, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, should be indicted and bound over for trial decided to use the grand jury to mount a robust defense for the accused murderer.  Not only did the prosecutor succeed in acquitting the murderer Darren Wilson, he convinced the grand jury to indict, try, and convict the unarmed murder victim Michael Brown.

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Throughout the reporting on the progress of the St. Louis county grand jury looking into whether the prosecution had enough evidence to indict, and hold over for trial, murderer Darren Wilson, there were “rumors” that Wilson gave extensive testimony in front of the grand jury against the unarmed African American teen he gunned down. The rumors were so incredibly unbelievable that one could not help but think they were just that; fallacious rumors spread by an ignorant press. As a citizen that has sat on two separate, year-long, criminal grand juries 12 years apart, it was beyond comprehension that a defendant would ever testify in front of the grand jury. It just does not, and never does, happen; at least not over the course of 27 different cases before the grand jury this author sat on. At best, and at the prosecuting district attorney’s discretion, they may present exculpatory evidence that are “guesses” at what a defense attorney will present to convince the trial jury the accused is innocent; exculpatory evidence is unusual, and not mandatory, and precisely why a grand jury almost always indicts the accused.

What is curious, indeed, is why the members of the St. Louis grand jury did not immediately appeal to the St. Louis county presiding Superior Court judge and report that the prosecutor was presenting evidence in the form of the accused’s testimony that Michael  Brown was on trial and guilty. Prior to hearing evidence for why the accused should stand trial, a prosecutor’s job is informing members of the jury their only job is deciding if there is sufficient evidence to send the defendant to trial; not to determine guilt or innocence, and particularly not to find the accused not guilty.

Since the announcement that the grand jury indicted, tried, and convicted murder victim Michael Brown  and found Darren Wilson innocent of gunning down the unarmed teenager, myriad legal experts, including the National Bar Association, have railed

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on the decision going so far as to call on the Justice Department to  conduct a legitimate investigation.  In fact, according to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in a 1992 Supreme Court case he elucidated that the role of a grand jury for hundreds of years has not been “to enquire … upon what foundation [the charge may be] denied,’ or otherwise to try the suspect’s defenses, but only to examine ‘upon what foundation [the charge] is made’ by the prosecutor. As a consequence, neither in this country nor in England has the suspect under investigation by the grand jury ever been thought to have a right to testify or to have exculpatory evidence presented.”

Compared to Scalia’s explanation of what a grand jury, and prosecutor’s, job is, it is worth looking at McCulloch’s final instructions before deliberations. He said, “You must find probable cause to believe that Darren Wilson did not act in lawful self-defense and you must find probable cause to believe that Darren Wilson did not use lawful force in making an arrest. If you find those things, which is kind of like finding a negative, you cannot return an indictment on anything or true bill unless you find both of those things. Because both are complete defenses to any offense and they both have been raised in his, in the evidence.” These were not comments of a prosecutor seeking an indictment, but of defense counsel seeking “upon what foundation [the charges may be] denied.”

From the start of the sham investigation into the racially motivated, cold-blooded, murder of unarmed Michael Brown, the prosecutor was Hell-bent on acquitting Darren Wilson and indicting, trying, and convicting Michael Brown; Wilson executed Brown prior to the grand jury’s indictment, trial, and conviction. What is telling about the rampant racism and hatred toward people of color in America is the high level of support for Wilson and vile remarks against the unarmed murder victim, Michael Brown that followed the Wilson acquittal.

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The only consolation, and it will turn out to be just that, for Michael Brown’s family, the African American community in and around Ferguson, and sickened Americans across the nation is that they are not the only people outraged at the “show trial” to acquit Wilson the grand jury put on. Without a federal investigation, the entire world will know what a majority of Americans already are aware of; like everything in America, the criminal justice system, including the courts, are heavily tilted against people of color.

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View Comments

  • Now this is what I am talking about discuss the Prosecutor and the Officer because Brown is not around to talk. So let’s focus on what these good ole boys had and will continue to say. Those who don’t want the truth to be made known and for justice to prevail, they will concentrate on the looting. SMDH!

    • Unfortunately, the editorial relies on too many false statements to make the case, FACT: While it was more uncommon in the past for a defendant to testify at a grand jury, it is much more common today. If the author had simply looked for basic facts to back up the premise, it would have been found that the defendant testifies about 25% of the time in a grand jury case. Unheard of? No, all credibility is lost with that statement. It becomes obvious that the author avoids facts, because the facts PROVE that the argument is WRONG. If Wilson murdered Brown, let's convict him on facts, not made up claims that are blattenly false.

      • 1992 Ruling By Justice Scalia Explains Why Ferguson Grand Jury Was Completely Wrong
        The high court's most reactionary judge's ruling flies in the face of Ferguson's prosecutor's actions.
        http://www.alternet.org/civil-liberties/1992-ruling-justice-scalia-explains-why-ferguson-grand-jury-was-completely-wrong

        "It is the grand jury’s function not ‘to enquire … upon what foundation [the charge may be] denied,’ or otherwise to try the suspect’s defenses, but only to examine ‘upon what foundation [the charge] is made’ by the prosecutor. Respublica v. Shaffer, 1 Dall. 236 (O. T. Phila. 1788); see also F. Wharton, Criminal Pleading and Practice § 360, pp. 248-249 (8th ed. 1880). As a consequence, neither in this country nor in England has the suspect under investigation by the grand jury ever been thought to have a right to testify or to have exculpatory evidence presented.

  • It should also be noted that the prosecutor deliberately presented witnesses whose testimony conflicted with the evidence and each other.

    Now, what prosecutor does that if there is ANY attempt to get at the truth of what happened?

  • How many other DAs and prosecutors are pulling the same illegal stunt?

    How many Americans have lost their rights and freedoms under a system as unfair as the Spanish Inquisition?

    Is this what they teach in those religious law 'colleges?' If it is, no wonder America is a 3d world collection of kingdoms and plantations.

  • You got this one wrong, Rmuse. This is like the conservative entertainment complex. Once a lie is told, it lives on no matter how many times it's debunked. Scalia wrote that opinion on a case where the defendant said he had a right to testify before the grand jury. Scalia simply wrote that no defendant has a RIGHT to testify. Here's part of Scalia's rendering of the court's opinion that the disingenuous or ignorant keep leaving out: " Because it has always been thought sufficient for the grand jury to hear only the prosecutor's side, and, consequently that the suspect has no right to present, and the grand jury no obligation to consider, exculpatory evidence, it would be incompatible with the traditional system to impose upon the prosecutor a legal obligation to present such evidence."

    Scalia doesn't say the defendant CANNOT testify; he says the defendants testimony CANNOT BE REQUIRED. Big difference.

    • Sorry John, you didn't read the article. No-place does it even allude to your assertion that Scalia said a defendant cannot testify. In fact, the author even quoted Scalia's statement that there is no obligation to present exculpatory evidence or for a prosecutor to present a defense's testimony.

      How about re-reading the piece, because you came to a conclusion based on what you want to believe, not what was written; suspiciously like a teabagger or Fox devotee.

  • I have never heard of a grand jury doing such a thing. Apparently, Eric Holder hasn't either. I read over at FB that the DOJ is investigating the entire Ferguson police department.
    After that investigation, lets hope he investigates the DA's office as well. This is outrage, a Grand Jury having this much power. And Governor Jay allowed it, unbelievable!

  • Apparently Wilson is set to become a millionaire from the donations his supporters have given.
    My opinion - he should have to pay every last penny of it in a wrongful death law suit if anyone can file one.

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