Thursday, November 13, 2013
St.Louis County prosecuting attorney Bob McCulloch, aided and abetted by a compliant news media, is intentionally violating the public’s First Amendment right to know whether Officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown in self-defense or murdered him.
Since August 9th when Michael Brown died in the street and six eyewitnesses said he had his hands up when he was shot, there has been probable cause to believe the officer murdered him.
In essence, he is defending the officer and concealing what he is doing by trying Michael Brown in a secret grand jury proceeding where he controls what they get to consider while his minions selectively leak evidence that is spun in a manner favorable to the officer.
For example, Mother Jones reports today,
The autopsy, which was leaked to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, revealed Brown had been shot in the hand at close range with Wilson, putting into question whether Brown had had his hands up in the air, as some witnesses claimed.
The italicized portion of the statement is false. Dorian Johnson, who was with Brown, stated that Brown received a gunshot wound to his hand fired at close range inside the vehicle while the officer was seated holding Brown with one hand and a gun with other. Johnson’s statement is consistent with the gunshot residue found on Brown’s hand and the bullet wound described in the autopsy report.
The wound to Brown’s hand and the presence of the gunshot residue does not make it more or less likely that Brown’s hands were up when the officer shot and killed him after getting out of his vehicle and chasing Brown down the street recklessly squeezing off shots in a crowded residential neighborhood. To suggest otherwise is at best grossly irresponsible.
Let’s return to basics.
The purpose of the grand jury is not to try this case. The purpose is to decide in secret whether there is probable cause to believe that Wilson murdered Brown. If so, the grand jury should indict him for murder. If indicted, the Sixth Amendment would come into play.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
Last week the Arizona Court of Appeals reminded Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens about the importance of public trials in the Jodi Arias case, such that despite the defense request to exclude the media and the public from the courtroom, the public has an overriding First Amendment right to know what is going on in her resentencing hearing. That is, the public and the media cannot be excluded.
The public’s right to know what is happening at any given time and what the government is doing is protected by the Freedom of the Press Clause in the First Amendment.
Secret trials are prohibited by the First and Sixth Amendments. Yet, that is exactly what is happening in St.Louis and the news media is aiding and abetting that secret proceeding.
Since the prosecutor determines what evidence to present to the grand jury, the grand jury proceedings are secret, no judge is present, and the rules of evidence do not apply, we do not know what evidence has been presented or the quality of that evidence.
Only a fool would believe the grand jury is getting an objective look at the evidence, given the selective leaks by ‘unnamed officials’ that only favor the officer.
The prosecuting attorney, who has taken an oath to uphold and enforce the law, has violated the public’s right, which is our right to know what is going on.
There is no way that a secret grand jury proceeding can ever substitute for a public trial, ever.
The grand jury’s decision will be illegitimate and not entitled to any deference or respect.