Monday, November 24, 2014


     I only have a couple of things to say about the grand jury's failure to return an indictment against Officer Darren Wilson; I'm too demoralized to write anything lengthy.  But what I do have to say is based on my knowledge and experience as a criminal defense attorney for the past 27 years.  Grand juries are the pawns of prosecutors, who are experts at manipulating the outcomes of grand jury proceedings.  How do I know this?  Because I've heard prosecutors boast about it, proudly repeating the aphorism that they "could indict a ham sandwich" if they so chose.  Prosecutors are obligated to leave the voting to the grand jurors, but they treat this as a mere technicality; every day, in every county of every state, prosecutors knowingly and intentionally manipulate the grand jury system to achieve their own desired results.
     You saw Prosecutor McCulloch.  You saw his disdain for his own witnesses and their credibility; his pugnacious insistence that the essence of the case against Wilson was a twisted myth perpetuated by the media.  I don't know whether he personally made the presentation to the grand jury or whether it was one of his minions, but here's something else I know from experience: prosecutors' offices are completely hierarchical in structure.  The prosecutor calls the shots, and everyone who works for him or her falls into lockstep or risks getting fired.  Can there be any doubt that the resentment McCulloch so openly communicated to the public tonight for the fact that he even had to present this case to the grand jury was unmistakably communicated to every person in his office?  And can there be any doubt that the message was then passed along subliminally to the grand jurors themselves?  The same witness can present the same testimony, but be viewed completely differently, depending on how the prosecutor presenting the case chooses to conduct the questioning: respectfully, neutrally, skeptically, or anything in between.  Grand juries return indictments on ludicrously weak charges ALL THE TIME.  Prosecutors have acknowledged to me that they routinely over-indict, submitting charges on which they know the grand jury will return indictments but which they themselves know they won't ever be able to prove at trial beyond a reasonable doubt, in order to have more bargaining chips when it comes time for plea negotiations. When grand juries do decide to no-bill cases, it's almost always because the prosecutors recommended that they do just that.
     To me, there's no doubt whatsoever about what happened with the Ferguson grand jury.  Any doubt I might have had was decimated by McCulloch's demeanor.  In probably 98% of cases presented to the grand jury, prosecutors make sure to get the result they want.  This case falls within that 98%.

No comments:

Post a Comment