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-   -   Grand Jury Does Not Charge Ferguson Officer in Michael Brown Shooting (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=90794)

E. Q. Taft 25 November 2014 03:09 AM

Grand Jury Does Not Charge Ferguson Officer in Michael Brown Shooting
 
A St. Louis County grand jury has brought no criminal charges against Darren Wilson, a white police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager, more than three months ago in nearby Ferguson.

At a news conference, the St. Louis County prosecutor, Robert P. McCulloch, said that members of the grand jury deliberated for more than two days before finding that no probable cause existed to file charges against Officer Wilson.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/25/us...jury.html?_r=0

crocoduck_hunter 25 November 2014 03:54 AM

If there was so much evidence that it took them two months or so to review it all, how was there insufficient evidence to indict?

Spud Sabre 25 November 2014 04:39 AM

Not all evidence gathered is useful.

Aud 1 25 November 2014 04:49 AM

The evidence is being released. You can do your armchair commentary based on the same information they did.

It is surreal seeing the riots in Ferguson on streets I walked down hundreds of times.

erwins 25 November 2014 04:52 AM

It's not about volume, it's about persuasiveness and standard of proof, which is "probable cause" at this stage.

Aud 1 25 November 2014 04:54 AM

Here is a transcript of the grand jury testimony.
http://www.stltoday.com/news/multime...3c15d0f0e.html

crocoduck_hunter 25 November 2014 05:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spud Sabre (Post 1851177)
Not all evidence gathered is useful.

Shouldn't the non-useful evidence have been screened out before being presented to the Grand Jury?

Beachlife! 25 November 2014 05:12 AM

I don't think I would want anyone except the Grand Jury screening the evidence.

Little Pink Pill 25 November 2014 05:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter (Post 1851181)
Shouldn't the non-useful evidence have been screened out before being presented to the Grand Jury?

Are you making the argument that the jury took too much time to look at too much evidence? That seems like rather a good thing in a case like this.

Magdalene 25 November 2014 05:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aud 1 (Post 1851178)
The evidence is being released. You can do your armchair commentary based on the same information they did.

It is surreal seeing the riots in Ferguson on streets I walked down hundreds of times.

Ditto. I've been hearing rumors that they've gotten to Flower Valley Shopping Center. That's three miles from my parents house.

Magdalene

Singing in the Drizzle 25 November 2014 12:30 PM

As I heard in interviews with protesters last night on the way home after the Grand Jury announcement. Physical evidence is not relevant if there are enough independent unrelated witnesses to the crime.

I also think that a lot of people do not understand the police work under a different set of rules and laws when it come to shooting someone then those for normal citizen. As a citizen you should remember these rules when dealing with a police officer even if you think you are right and innocent and the officer is being an ass.

Steve 25 November 2014 01:35 PM

This page has some reports and forensic evidence that the grand jury saw: http://apps.stlpublicradio.org/fergu.../evidence.html

A Turtle Named Mack 25 November 2014 02:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spud Sabre (Post 1851177)
Not all evidence gathered is useful.

You can get into a semantic argument about whether material gathered is 'evidence' if it is not useful in reaching a determination.
Quote:

Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter (Post 1851181)
Shouldn't the non-useful evidence have been screened out before being presented to the Grand Jury?

Necessarily a fair bit of it was. No doubt there were statements taken of people who said they arrived well after the events, lots of video taken the day of the events for hours after the death, truly extraneous details about clothing and possessions, etc. But particularly when there was so much false information being passed around, and so much incitement to riot, you would want to make sure the grand jury got every tidbit that could even be tangentially persuasive of not just the events but the thoughts of the participants as well. It can be too easy for a DA to present a very biased, prejudiced picture of events by presenting only partial facts, but with the tensions around this case, he needed to present all the information thoroughly.

Spud Sabre 25 November 2014 07:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack (Post 1851207)
You can get into a semantic argument about whether material gathered is 'evidence' if it is not useful in reaching a determination.

I hope it's clear that what I meant by 'evidence' was "things gathered by the investigators because they thought they would be useful" not "things useful in reaching a determination".

Dark Blue 25 November 2014 07:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter (Post 1851170)
If there was so much evidence that it took them two months or so to review it all, how was there insufficient evidence to indict?

Just because it's called evidence doesn't mean that it automatically points towards a person's guilt. Evidence can also exonerate the defendant. In fact we even have a name for it. Exculpatory evidence.

From what I've read the evidence included approximately 70 hours of testimony from about 60 witnesses. For a grand jury meeting once a week or so it would take a few months to hear it all. And they would be remiss in doing their job if they didn't hear and consider all of it.

crocoduck_hunter 25 November 2014 09:44 PM

From the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...t-of-the-time/

Quote:

2. Grand juries, at least at the state level, often do not indict police officers. As Ben Casselman of 538, who made the observation about the rarity of grand juries not indicting, noted, "A recent Houston Chronicle investigation found that 'police have been nearly immune from criminal charges in shootings' in Houston and other large cities in recent years. ... Separate research by Bowling Green State University criminologist Philip Stinson has found that officers are rarely charged in on-duty killings, although it didnít look at grand jury indictments specifically."

Singing in the Drizzle 26 November 2014 05:00 AM

Some where there is usually a requirement of willful and wanton disregard or some such wording that has to be met before a officer will go to trial. It is very hard to prove a police officer was willfully and with wanton disregard killed someone.

Don Enrico 26 November 2014 06:36 AM

I've read that the public prosecutor didn't have to refer the case to the Grand Jury, but could have decided to bring charges himself.

Is that true? And if so, what were the reasons for a Grand Jury decision? Is it common in cases like this (morder/manslaughter in general and/or cases involving police officers) to have the Grand Jury decide?

erwins 26 November 2014 07:41 AM

In the states that allow charging other than by grand jury (most of them, including Missouri), prosecutors can file charges themselves and the defendant has the right to have a preliminary hearing in front of a judge to determine if there's probable cause for the charges. Usually that procedure gets used for routine cases where there isn't any doubt about p.c. In those cases, defendants also usually waive the preliminary hearing.

If there's doubt about p.c., the charges are more likely to go to a grand jury. On a practical level, there's a slight advantage to defendants in getting a preliminary hearing. There's also, of course, the fact that a grand jury provides more political cover to prosecutors. If the prosecutor in Ferguson had filed directly and there was a preliminary hearing rather than a grand jury process, I guarantee that people would be protesting that that process favored the officer. In neither case does the requirement of having probable cause go away. There are just different methods of testing for it.

I think someone may have posted this link already, but it gives some information about the process and some of the possible reasons why grand juries rarely indict police officers. http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/f...darren-wilson/

RichardM 26 November 2014 02:25 PM

Quote:

2. Grand juries, at least at the state level, often do not indict police officers. As Ben Casselman of 538, who made the observation about the rarity of grand juries not indicting, noted, "A recent Houston Chronicle investigation found that 'police have been nearly immune from criminal charges in shootings' in Houston and other large cities in recent years. ... Separate research by Bowling Green State University criminologist Philip Stinson has found that officers are rarely charged in on-duty killings, although it didnít look at grand jury indictments specifically."
One explanation would be that most police shootings are justified.


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