Bob McCulloch

Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby of Baltimore, left, and Robert MCCulloch of St. Louis County
Official Photo and Bill Greenblatt | UPI

First of two reports — A change may be underway in the prosecution of police brutality cases, with prosecutors moving more quickly to charge officers when they have strong evidence, experts say.

After two long-running grand juries in Ferguson and Staten Island, N.Y., decided not to indict officers in high-visibility cases, authorities in North Charleston, S.C.; Tulsa, Okla., and Baltimore moved rapidly to charge officers in the deaths of Walter Scott, Eric Harris and Freddie Gray, respectively.

Federal judge says grand juror argument against secrecy belongs in state court

May 5, 2015
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announces that the grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson on any of five counts that were presented to it.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Updated 4:45 p.m. May 5 with dismissal from federal court. A federal judge has ruled  that a grand juror who wants to speak out about the experiences of evaluating the evidence in the Michael Brown shooting should bring that case in state court.

Attorney Maggie Ellinger-Locke and activists Montague Simmons and Juliette Jacobs speak at news conference after the hearing Friday, April 24, 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

An effort to remove St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch from office has survived its first hearing.

In January, Montague Simmons and three other activists filed a request for a special prosecutor to investigate McCulloch’s actions during the Darren Wilson grand jury.

St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch delivers a keynote address at a Saint Louis University law school  symposium on policing after Ferguson on February 20, 2015.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

In a speech interrupted three times by protesters, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch gave a full-throated defense Friday of the way his office handled the case of former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. 

Jason Rojas | Flickr

One of the key reforms, experts agree, that should grow out of the death of Michael Brown is changing Missouri’s statute giving police officers broad authority to use deadly force against unarmed suspects.

But the bills now before the Missouri Legislature could make matters worse rather than better, say legal experts.  All of the bills are seriously flawed, say Saint Louis University law professors Chad Flanders and Marcia McCormick.

St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Four St. Louis area activists who are familiar faces in Ferguson are asking the St. Louis County circuit court to order an investigation into the way prosecutor Bob McCulloch handled the Darren Wilson grand jury.

The case, filed late Thursday, seeks to use section 106 of the Missouri Revised Statutes to force judge Maura McShane to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate McCulloch. McCulloch has been a lightning rod for criticism from the start of the case. 

Courtesy Nate Birt

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s request for a St. Louis County judge to consider a new grand jury and special prosecutor in the death of Michael Brown calls for an action that is without precedent.

No Missouri court has appointed a special prosecutor and empaneled a second grand jury over the objection of the local prosecutor whose first grand jury did not indict, legal experts say. Nor does there appear to be a precedent anywhere else in the country.

gavel court justice
sxc.hu

The grand juror who wants to challenge publicly St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch’s portrayal of the Ferguson grand jury has a relatively strong First Amendment case -- if the juror can get the argument before a judge, legal experts say.

The U.S. Supreme Court threw out a Florida law that permanently barred a grand jury witness from disclosing his grand jury testimony. That same rationale may apply to grand jurors themselves, legal experts say.

This week, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Chris McDaniel, Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies use the  Politically Speaking podcast have decided to look into their crystal balls to discuss what’s ahead for Missouri politics in 2015.  

It’s a time of transition for both the Missouri General Assembly and St. Louis County government. The legislature comes back into session on Wednesday with some new members, and an even stronger Republican majority, while a new county executive has taken over in the state’s largest county.

On the show, we talked about:

One of two courtrooms in the St. Louis County Justice Center. Taken 11-24-14
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch and two of his assistants are facing a misconduct complaint for the way they handled the grand jury that investigated former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.  

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