Ferguson Grand Jury Presents an Opportunity
. . . from the perspective of a legal mind, that is. Please excuse this off-topic post, but the Ferguson, Missouri recently decided not to indict. Twitter and other social media are buzzing with commentary about the protesters, opinions about racism, and knee-jerk reactions. All is based on very little evidence.
Fortunately, Margie Freivogel from the local NPR station posted a link on Twitter to the actual transcripts of the Grand Jury itself. http://apps.stlpublicradio.org/ferguson-project/evidence.html.
Irrespective of subject matter, the law should be about an adversarial matching of facts and evidence against the democratically created rules of law. The ultimate conclusion about a case-civil or criminal-ought to be decided by impartial citizens (sometimes a judge) based on the most credible presentation of the case.
The Ferguson grand jury was given the state's strongest case. Police, investigators, and prosecutors presented all that they could. This was done without a defense attorney fighting back. The rules of evidence are much less strict, so more information was presented than that could be presented in a criminal trial. The jury voted against indictment. That is, they found no probable cause for a murder or manslaughter prosecution of Darren Wilson. Prior to this, a prosecutor (likely a whole team of them) also determined that there was no probable cause to indict.
So before you endorse the federal government's promise to investigate or indict for civil rights violations (a third review of Mr. Wilson's fault in the matter), ask yourself whether you support the rule of law and justice based on evidence (please read the transcripts), or a result based on prejudice, hype, and mob mentality.
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