Legal Roundtable Probes Grand Jury Secrecy And Prosecutor’s Discretion
Six years after Michael Brown was killed by a Ferguson police officer, his death continues to generate debate. This month, that included two new developments discussed by St. Louis on the Air’s Legal Roundtable: St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell’s decision to reopen and then close the case, and another setback for a grand juror seeking to discuss what happened behind closed doors in the criminal probe into Brown’s death.
Attorneys Eric Banks of Banks Law, Nicole Gorovsky of Gorovsky Law and Mark Smith, who is a vice chancellor and dean for Career Services at Washington University, dug into both developments. The trio discussed the standard for when a prosecutor may bring a case, as well as their concerns about who is being protected by grand jury secrecy.
They also discussed the following matters involving the judicial system:
- Accusations that Missouri Rep. Nick Schroer (R-O’Fallon) has moved out of his district. Schroer faces a lawsuit from his Democratic Party opponent alleging “fraudulent schemes.”
- Attempts by the Missouri Legislature to strip power from St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, including both a proposal to give the state attorney general “concurrent jurisdiction” and a failed amendment that sought to give the governor the right to remove her from office for anything from “willful neglect” to “incompetency.”
- A lawsuit filed by two bars shut down by the city of St. Louis. They argued that the mayor indicated she didn’t want businesses to be “mask police,” yet they were shut down without warning for failing to police their patrons.
- The request by John Rallo, a businessman serving time in prison after pleading guilty to bribery in a St. Louis County corruption scheme, for compassionate release after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
The panel also heard from callers.
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.