Tuesday, November 25, 2014


After having the evidence presented to the Grand Jury, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson will not be charged for the murder of Michael Brown. Here's my take on what's happenning.

The job of any prosecutor in front of a Grand Jury is to present only the evidence that shows probable cause. They want to prosecute. That's it. If a case goes to a trial it's up to the Defense Team to go after the prosecutors evidence.

What county prosecutor Bob McCulloch did was present "all the evidence" to the Grand Jury, whether it was provable or not. The idea was to flood the evidence room, and let the Grand Jury sort it out. Anybody who's not a legal expert, and who has sat on a jury trial knows what this means (it's not good). Prosecutor McCulloch then allowed - and this is extremely rare - Officer Wilson to testify on his behalf in front of the Grand Jury, without any cross examination from prosecutors (because the District Attorney's office was pretty much working on Wilson's behalf).

Keep in mind that in Missouri it's legal for a police officer to shoot and kill a suspected felon who is fleeing once they believe their lives, or the lives of the public, are in danger. Without cross examination Officer Wilson's testimony becomes crucial, and golden.

Most Americans who disagree with the St. Louis county Grand Jury's decision will be discussing these issues, along with other evidence presented to the Grand Jury. The irony is that this is what a normal trial - with real prosecutors and real defense attorneys - would have done if Bob McCulloch had simply done his job and pursued an indictment.

But Bob McCulloch didn't do his job. He abdicated his position.

Michael Brown was denied his day in court because Prosecutor McCulloch decided to throw up an evidenciary smoke screen, with the goal of overwhelming the Grand Jury.

In the process Bob McCulloch became Officer Darren Wilson's de facto defense attorney.

The logic behind all of this reminiscent of how trials during the Inquisition were conducted during the medieval period. Back then trials were designed to protect religious orthodoxy and social order. The authority of the Catholic Church and the royal way of life were at stake. The goal of the Inquisition was not the pursuit of justice, but to maintain the status quo.

Many of the accused during the Inquisition were set free simply by proving their accuser held a "moral hatred" towards them. In this case "defendant" Darren Wilson didn't have to present evidence to the Grand Jury that his accuser (presumably Michael Brown) was a bad man, or possessed "moral hatred" towards him. Officer Wilson was allowed to testify, confident that his accuser had no chance of challenging his word, ever.

Both secular authority and ecclesiastical power had its privileges during the medieval period.

I'll let you draw your own parallels regarding privilege, police authority, and prosecutorial power in the modern era.

- Mark 

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