grand jury

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

May 29, 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 4:30 p.m. May 29 with suit filed in state court - A grand juror who served in the Darren Wilson case is taking a lawsuit against St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch to state court.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri says its client hopes to challenge secrecy requirements that prevent talking freely about the grand jury investigation and what evidence was presented. In a release, the ACLU says the grand juror wants to contribute to public discussions on race relations.

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.

Michael Brown's Normandy High School graduation photo
Provided by UPI

(Updated at 7:30 p.m. with comments from St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch)

The U.S. Justice Department’s report into the fatal of shooting of Michael Brown by then-police officer Darren Wilson makes two basic findings: investigators were not convinced that Wilson committed a federal crime; and that even if they were to indict Wilson, they didn’t believe they would be able to win at trial.

Rep. Lacy Clay
St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s two members of the Congressional Black Caucus both say President Barack Obama encouraged members of the caucus to find Republican colleagues to help pass criminal justice system reforms sought by many in the group. 

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.

The Fashions R Boutique was one of 13 businesses in Dellwood that burned down during Monday's riots following the announcement of the Darren Wilson grand jury decision.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio

The United Way of Greater St. Louis is hoping to provide basic assistance to employees who lost work when businesses in Ferguson and Dellwood were looted or burned in November. But the agency is struggling to locate qualified individuals. 

Displaced employees who qualify for the assistance would have had to have lost their jobs or had their hours significantly reduced, by more than 40 hours a week, said the organization's vice president of community response Regina Greer.

St. Louis County  Police have released this still image from surveillance footage at Mickey's Shop N Gas during looting the night the Darren Wilson grand jury was announced.
Courtesy St. Louis County Police

According to St. Louis County Police, tips from the public have helped identify seven looting suspects from the night of the Darren Wilson grand jury announcement.

Those individuals are wanted for questioning, according to media relations Officer Shawn McGuire. 

"it's just a matter of time before they get picked up by police" or detectives locate the suspects, he said.

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.

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

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch says he’s not surprised by the scrutiny his office continues to receive as a result of the grand jury decision a month ago not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

In fact, McCulloch observed in an interview Tuesday that his staff is conducting its own examination of how the office handled the investigation of the Ferguson shooting on Aug. 9, which touched off months of unrest – locally and around the world.

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