Grand Jury 102: How to rig the outcome of a grand jury investigation

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Good morning:

Today I explain how to rig the outcome of a grand jury investigation because I believe that is what is happening in the Michael Brown shooting case.*

I have written a series of articles about the selective leaking of information by ‘unnamed officials’ to print media about the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, MO that is favorable to Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed him, and I have accused Bob McCulloch, the elected Prosecuting Attorney for St.Louis County, of being responsible for the release of that information.

I also have predicted that the grand jury will decide not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown.

Let us begin by acknowledging that six independent eyewitnesses to the shooting said Wilson shot and killed an unarmed Michael Brown after he stopped running away, turned around and raised his hands in the universally understood gesture of surrender. None of them described a situation in which Wilson could reasonably be described as being in imminent danger of death or serious injury.

I used the word ‘independent’ to describe the eyewitnesses because they did not know each other, Michael Brown or Darren Wilson.

Second, no one can credibly contend that the testimony of the six eyewitnesses is not sufficient to constitute probable cause (i.e., reasonable grounds) to believe that Darren Wilson intentionally shot and killed Michael Brown.

Third, since the function of the grand jury is limited to deciding whether there is probable cause to believe that Darren Wilson intentionally shot and killed Michael Brown, the grand jury should have indicted him weeks ago.

Fourth, a grand jury proceeding is not a trial. Prosecutors run grand juries. Their goal is to present enough evidence to get an indictment and nothing more. They are not obliged to present any exculpatory evidence and they rarely do because a grand jury indictment is only an accusation that the named defendant committed a particular crime. Once indicted a defendant can plead guilty and proceed to sentencing or plead not guilty and go to trial.

Fifth, a suspect can testify before a grand jury. That rarely happens because no judge is present and the accused is on his own without a lawyer to protect him while a hostile prosecutor determined to expose his guilt peppers him with questions he would rather not answer. The better choice is to assert the right to remain silent and refuse to testify.

Sixth, we use public trials with regular juries, not secret proceedings, to decide guilt or innocence. Transparency legitimizes outcomes and builds confidence in the legal process.

We believe in due process of law and we cannot have any faith in our legal system without it.

With these six points in mind, let’s take a look at how the outcome of a grand jury investigation can be rigged.

The rare exception to the rule that targets of grand jury investigations do not testify before grand juries, which is what we are seeing here, occurs when the prosecutor is sympathetic to the accused and does not want to charge him. So he rigs the outcome of the grand jury investigation by controlling what evidence they get to hear, including leading the accused through a scripted soft and friendly appearance before the grand jury. After they decide not to charge the accused, he holds a press conference and declares that the grand jury has spoken and it’s time to move on.

In a high publicity case like this one, he arranges to have his minions selectively leak information that supports the suspect to friendly reporters who spin and publish it.

Presto Changeo. No indictment, plausible deniability for the seemingly inexplicable failure to indict that is shrouded in inviolate secrecy, and no adverse political consequences for the prosecutor who can truthfully declare, “I did the best I could.”

*H/T to GrannyStandingForTruth for the inspiration to write this post.

25 Responses to Grand Jury 102: How to rig the outcome of a grand jury investigation

  1. one last question , since we know pretty surely that the officer will walk away without ever having to account for anything that he did, can the Brown family sue Wilson in a civil court? If so, can he be put on the stand?

  2. Professor…This Michael Brown case is causing me to lose sleep. I just want there to be justice and put Wilson before a jury to let them hear ALL of the facts then decide. Please tell me in your experience
    , has the grand jury heard Dorian Johnson’s testimony?The two white construction worker’s testimony? Any on the the other witnesses that saw Michael’s hands “UP”? Why have few if any of the major media outlets not corrected to twisting of the blood evidence in the cop car?Any reasonable person knows that yes Michael’s hand was near the gun, since I’m certain that nobody would not try to push away the gun that they are about to shot with at close range. Lastly, in your opinion, do you truly believe that Wilson’s people really have 7-8 black witnesses that completely
    exonerate him, while at the same time ignoring all of the others that show his guilt?

    • I don’t believe the prosecutors called any witnesses who would have testified that Wilson executed Michael Brown after he had surrendered by raising his hands. I believe they rigged the outcome of the grand jury by controlling what the grand jury heard.

  3. MDX says:

    Sadly, Jack Bruce has left this world. So I leave you with this fine cover of a Willy Dixon song that fits “the prosecutor”:

  4. sparger says:

    On Vondeitt Meyers case. I was just at the Huffington Post website. There is an article on the Meyers shooting. All shots came from the back while he was running up hill per the family autopsy.

    Millikan is the attorney for the cop that shot the kid. His explanation of the gun shot wounds are amazing. It makes no sense to me. Can someone explain how this would actually work. Why would the kid lay down start shooting backwards at the cop?

    t doesn’t change the fact that Myers attempted to murder this policeman,” Millikan said.

    Millikan said that after a foot chase, Myers was lying in a gangway with his feet out of the gangway and his legs extended toward the officer as he was propped up on his left elbow.

    “When the policeman is firing back, it’s only natural that the back of his legs are going to be exposed to the policeman’s line of fire,” he said.

    (Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Sandra Maler)

    • sparger says:

      Maybe LLMpapa can explain the Meyers shooting to me.

      • Bill Taylor says:

        simple common sense reality when one tells the truth they can repeat it with ease because that IS what happened and it is what they remember……when one tells lies it is difficult to repeat and the more it is repeated the more it changes as the lies compound each other, when things that dont fit get exposed, see the lies will ALWAYS have many things that do NOT fit the physical evidence……

        in the Myers case one side is already guilty of multiple changes to their stories……and the physical FACT is Myers was shot in the back of his legs 6 times and once in the side of this upper leg which shattered his femur, and the fatal shot to the side of his head near the eyebrow level……..those facts fit a person trying to get away climbing that little hill being shot multiple times when trying that being on the ground at the top and then being executed……the drop gun did NOT have his dna on it…..the physical evidence and where it went down do NOT fit the officers various stories at all? where was the fight when the hoodie got removed? and where did it come from in the first place since it wasnt on him only minutes before? and their original story had the officer already up that little hill in the gangway between the homes where the struggle happened, that story didnt match the scene or physical evidence at all.

        • Malisha says:

          They’re following the “just say anything” rule. It goes like this:

          If the victim was Black, just say anything.

    • Millikan said that after a foot chase, Myers was lying in a gangway with his feet out of the gangway and his legs extended toward the officer as he was propped up on his left elbow.

      “When the policeman is firing back, it’s only natural that the back of his legs are going to be exposed to the policeman’s line of fire,” he said.

      That’s quite possibly one of the most ridiculous statements that I have ever heard.

      The lawyer needs to zip his mouth.

      • racerrodig says:

        Let me get up off the floor. I blew my lungs out, and the screen is covered with coffee from laughing so suddenly and loudly.

        Sooooooo, I assume the cop or the dept, or the union can only hire a lawyer like this…………….

        Like you said………shut – – – up.

        Professor, is there anything at all the Feds can do if Wilson is not indicted ? I can’t fathom in a case like this that the states jurisdiction is the last of it.

        Who would allow such a coverup that is so blatant ?

  5. SearchingMind says:

    Professor, you make an absolutely compelling case that any sane person will find extremely difficult to disagree with and will surely strike terror in the heart of Michael’s mother if she gets to read this. But I will remain stoic in my believe that Wilson will be indicted at the end of the day. I think folks are underestimating the nature of the anger seething beneath the grounds of Ferguson. If the Grand Jury does not indict, that anger will explode and blow Bob McCulloch away. There is absolutely nothing that will prohibit either Bob McCulloch (if he is not driven from office) or the Prosecutor to charge Wilson by information – absent an indictment. The evidence is there to convince a judge that there is probable cause to proceed to trial. Professor, correct me if I am wrong. So, I am worried, but not too worried.

    • There is certainly probable cause and McCulloch knows it, but I believe he is attempting to obstruct the grand jury investigation.

      I hope they do the right thing and indict Wilson but I’m not going to hold my breath.

  6. lyn says:

    Hi Prof, how did the Country get into this Grand Jury mess?

  7. Disappointed says:

    I am shocked disgusted and appalled. The prosecutor’s father was killed so IMO he should feel the pain of every family who has lost a family member through violence. It should never matter if the perp is a cop or not. It should not matter that his father was a police officer he died a victim. Hopefully the citizens vote Bob out.

  8. The way Bob McCullogh is handling this case brings to mind the well-worn phrase “a travesty of justice.”

  9. racerrodig says:

    Like I said, their new mantra is………

    “If we don’t indict………….they can’t convict” And Wilson and the gang think he gets to go back to work and it’s over ??

    A-hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha !!!!!! They have opened a very ugly can of worms.

    • They seriously overplayed their hand with a deluge of leaks all at once.

      Corrupt practices that draw public attention are a sign of institutional corruption.

      I also have concerns about the Vonderrit Myers shooting.

      • Many of us had/have reservations about the Vonderrit Myers shooting. The police first said he jumped from behind a bush to shoot the officer (shades of Zimmerman) and they also initially said he had a Ruger and later changed it to a Smith & Wesson …. now we know he was primarily shot in the back as he was fleeing up a hill ….

      • racerrodig says:

        I may hate NJ taxes and what corruption we have, but for the most part, if a cop shoots anyone, even if it does not result in a death, a major investigation starts. This is not tolerated at all. There was a shooting in North Jersey that had far less of an execution look to it that at first was going to be like this one, but when the 1st protest was even mentioned a grand jury was convened within a day or so and the cop pleaded to something appropriate. The cop was not invited to testify, only the witnesses and the coroner as I recall.

        I’m pretty sure Mafia Kingpins, drug lords, pimps, money launderers and the like don’t get called in very often to tell their side, it’s pretty much an ambush.

        This is such obvious bullshit here how on God’s Green earth do they think this won’t erupt into a major problem. Look at the Rodney King beating……that had video, this has video, and was in broad daylight. King wasn’t shot, this is an execution, plain & simple.

        This makes me sick.

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