St. Louis County Prosecutor | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Prosecutor

St. Louis County Prosecutor Announces New Conviction And Incident Review Unit

Jun 25, 2019
St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell, seen in this April 2019 photo, is establishing a unit of his office that will review cases of wrongful prosecution, police misconduct and officer-involved shootings. April 29, 2019
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell is rolling out a new Conviction and Incident Review Unit with two mandates that will, he said, “safeguard the integrity of convictions” won by the office.

The Conviction and Incident Review Unit, which will stand as its own unit, independent from the rest of the office and answer solely to Bell, will employ a director who will be hired through a national search. Its mandates will be to review two sets of things: cases involving substantiated claims of wrongful prosecution or conviction, and all matters relating to police officer-involved shootings and alleged police misconduct.

Just two weeks after being inaugurated, St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell joined "St. Louis on the Air" on Tuesday.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 9:30 p.m. with Bell's appearance at the County Council meeting Tuesday night.

St. Louis County’s newly inaugurated prosecuting attorney, Wesley Bell, has hit the ground running since his Jan. 1 inauguration. The first African-American to hold the post, Bell said his work so far has involved a lot of listening.

“There’s a lot of great people in [the county prosecutor’s office], and we want to make sure we take advantage of the institutional knowledge in that office,” he said on Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “And so I’ve been very deliberate about meeting with every single person in that office.”

When host Don Marsh followed up by asking about Bell’s dismissal of an assistant prosecutor responsible for presenting evidence to a grand jury in the wake of the police-involved shooting death of Michael Brown in 2014, Bell said he didn’t think it appropriate to comment on the employee matter at this time. When pressed about any connections between the dismissal and the 2014 case, he added that “there’s no connection.”

When he leaves office at the end of December, Bob McCulloch will have spent 28 years as St. Louis County's prosecuting attorney.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh and St. Louis Public Radio reporter Rachel Lippmann talked with outgoing St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.

Having first taken office in the early ’90s, McCulloch has served in the position ever since. But a stunning upset by Wesley Bell in this year’s Democratic primary has McCulloch’s long tenure now coming to a close.

Marsh and Lippmann spoke at length with McCulloch, asking a wide variety of questions. Twelve of those exchanges are included below, and you can listen to the full conversation:

Joshua Williams is serving an eight-year prison sentence for actions during a 2014 protest in Berkeley.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Joshua Williams always stood out in a crowd. Even during the tense and chaotic 2014 Ferguson protests, Williams could easily be spotted in the signature red hoodie that he rarely went without.

Williams was 18 years old at the time, the same age as Michael Brown when he was shot and killed by police — and old enough to leave home against his mother’s wishes to join the front lines to protest Brown’s death.

Wesley Bell is an attorney, municipal-court prosecutor and Ferguson city-council member – as well as a former public defender. Soon he’ll become St. Louis County’s first African-American prosecutor.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Wesley Bell – just two days after his victory in the Democratic primary against longtime incumbent St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.

As St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann reported earlier this week, Bell is now set to become St. Louis County’s first African-American prosecutor.

Asked what to make of his resounding win in a mostly white county, Bell said he expected to draw diverse support, but he was still “even more pleasantly surprised” by the large amount of support he received all over the county.

Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell, left, is challenging seven-term incumbent Bob McCulloch, right, in the Democratic primary for St. Louis County prosecutor.
Jason Rosenbaum and Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Bob McCulloch won a seventh term as St. Louis County prosecutor on Aug. 5, 2014. Four days later, 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot in Ferguson.

Brown’s death at the hands of a white police officer brought the racial disparities in the region’s criminal-justice system to the forefront and made national figures of both McCulloch and his opponent in the Democratic primary, Wesley Bell.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch. Photo taken July 24, 2018 for his Politically Speaking appearance
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch joined the Politically Speaking team to talk about his bid for re-election to an eighth term.

McCulloch is one of the longest-serving elected officials in Missouri. He’s squaring off against Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell in the Aug. 7 primary. Because no Republican filed for the position, the winner of the August contest is all but guaranteed a four-year term.

Ferguson Councilman Wesley Bell
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson City Councilman Wesley Bell comes back to the Politically Speaking podcast to talk about the race for St. Louis County prosecutor.

The Democratic official is taking on incumbent St. Louis Prosecutor Bob McCulloch, one of the longest serving local officials in the entire state. Because no Republican signed up to run, the winner of the Aug. 7 primary will serve a four-year term.

A group of activists say Andre Cole didn't receive a fair trial nor a proper defense. They're asking Gov. Nixon to halt Cole's execution Tuesday.
Courtesy of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

A group of activists is calling on Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to put a hold on Tuesday's execution of a black man they say was unfairly convicted by an all-white jury.

In addition, a letter they sent to Nixon asks him to establish a special board of inquiry to "investigate whether the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office has intentionally and systematically excluded African Americans from jury service in capital cases."