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McCulloch’s Process Guarantees No Indictment

November 5, 2014 Ferguson 31 Comments

Within the first 24 hours of last week’s poll it was clear it had been hijacked by trolls, skewing the results.  The vote count in a day was more than I usually see for the full week. I waited until Tuesday afternoon then decided to remove the poll from the blog. Here are the results when I closed/pulled the poll:

Q: Rate Prosecutor McCulloch’s Handling of the case of Darren Wilson Killing Michael Brown so far

  1. 5: Excellent 126 [70%]
  2. 1: Poor 25 [13.89%]
  3. Unsure/no answer 12 [6.67%]
  4. 4: Very Good 8 [4.44%]
  5. 2: Fair 6 [3.33%]
  6. 3: Good 3 [1.67%]

The “poor” was way ahead Sunday night, the next morning “excellent” was way out front. Eventually I’ll learn to not do polls that encourage sides to rally their troops to skew the results.

As far as McCulloch’s preformance, I voted “fair.” I agree with this article:

McCulloch’s decision to present every piece of evidence to the grand jury is a delay tactic, which in my experience overwhelms the grand jury and usually ends up with a vote not to indict. Keep in mind, this is just a “probable cause” hearing – the grand jury is not determining “guilt or innocence,” which happens at the actual trial. The grand jury doesn’t really need every piece of evidence to determine “probable cause.” (Bob McCulloch’s grand jury charade: County Prosecutor shows how to not get an indictment)

Charade is the right word. If McCulloch wanted an indictment he’d have handled the case differently, this has been an elaborate act to give the appearance of due diligence while guaranteeing no indictment.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "31 comments" on this Article:

  1. Jim Garrison says:

    I didn’t realize you were an attorney, too.

  2. JZ71 says:

    So, when people don’t produce the results you expect or want, they’re “trolls”?! How about you just may have the minority opinion!

    The prosecutor’s job is to bring a strong case before the court. The defense attorney’s job is to mount a vigorous defense against those charges. The only thing certain about this case is that a young black male lost his life during an interaction with a white law enforcement officer. The real question is whether or not the police used an excessive amount of force during the course of the interaction, and that is NOT a cut-and-dried issue – the police are legally entitled to use a reasonable and escalating amount of force, including deadly force, to enforce laws, to protect themselves and to protect other, innocent citizens.

    There’s also a huge amount of political and historical baggage surrounding this case, and widely differeing perceptions about what happened. The grand jury’s role is to review the available evidence and to recommend that a case move forward, or not. It serves the same purpose as a preliminary hearing, and much like a preliminary hearing, can result in the case being dismissed / not prosecuted due to a lack of sufficient evidence: http://ago.mo.gov/publications/courtprocess.pdf

    There’s an old saying, that it’s better to let a guilty man go free than it is to convict an innocent man – guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Reasonable doubt is the big hurdle, here, and with any felony case. There’s no doubt that Michael Brown died, but there are huge doubts about what transpired prior to Darren Wilson exiting his vehicle. And lacking any video or audio evidence, the case boils down to forensics and witness statements.

    Odds are good that Officer Wilson will be exonerated, the only question is just where in the process this occurs, and that will, unfortunately, never satisfy Michael Brown’s supporters. Getting in a cop’s face and trying to wrestle his gun away from him in close quarters usually ends up with a poor outcome . . . .

  3. Joseph Pulitzer says:

    You’re citing an opinion piece in the St. Louis American?!?

  4. Jean says:

    Yes, your “opinion” is just that. It really doesn’t mean a hill of beans. Everyone has an opinion.

  5. Greg says:

    Bitter.. party of one, your table is now ready.

  6. George Gallup says:

    I guarantee Steve would be the among first to bellyache if McCullough did not turn over every rock in the investigation, but instead, McCullough is taking too long. McCullough can’t win in the eyes of many.

    Once again, another poll’s results are lambasted for not jiving with Steve’s predetermined agenda.

    Stick with curb cuts and other mundane topics. You’ve proven you cannot be separate social, economic, and political issues in this community from your personal agendas.

    • I’ll stick with whatever I choose to, just as I’ve done for over a decade now. I do have an opinion on issues used as poll subjects, my opinion isn’t formed after the results are collected. Sometimes I agree with most readers, other times I disgree.

      • George Gallup says:

        Your opinions are usually formed well BEFORE the poll topics. Longevity only matters in the fact you continually purport to represent community issues, but your personal biases destroy any credibility and, occasionally, make you look foolish.

        • I’ve already acknowledged I have an opinion before the poll runs, I simply try to keep it to myself in the presentation.

          Every post I’ve done has been because I have an opinion I wish to express!

  7. gmichaud says:

    The point is that the process is rigged. Justice is demanded Please trolls don’t come up with distractions. McCulloch has an outcome in mind. Otherwise he should have recused himself. This is an unusual case all around and the fact Micheal Brown’s parents and many others asked for an clearly independent inquiry fell on deaf ears.

    It is time for the American people to retake their government, once again it is clear that it has become a government that is a system of harassment designed to extract as much as possible from the poor. Ultimately for the benefit a few (tiny muni’s and so on).

    The death of Micheal Brown warrants an clearly independent grand jury. The negative impact on St. Louis is going to be much greater if a perceived prejudicial party, that is Bob McCulloch, is part of the final decision whether or not to indict.
    Lets face it killing an unarmed teen is hard to justify. But with the help of the Post Dispatch, every effort is being made to do so.
    The bottom line is Bob McCulloch is not a leader, he apparently prefers to sacrifice the complete confidence in the system of justice in America to his ego.

    • RyleyinSTL says:

      Or…Mr. McCulloch is doing his job as mandated by law, you know, what he was elected to do.

    • JZ71 says:

      Killing an unarmed teen may be hard to justify, but defending oneself against a suspected criminal trying to gain control of your weapon CAN be justified. You (and others) seem to think that Officer Wilson was taking random shots, using an unarmed, black teenager for target practice. I (and others) see a situation that rapidly escalated from a simple request / command (get out of the street) to a physical struggle to a fatal conclusion. Yes, the process is “rigged”, to minimize the chances that an innocent person is not unfairly convicted. What’s the alternative? Just bring back lynch mobs?!

    • Fozzie says:

      You’re clearly part of the problem when you draw conclusions and oversimplify the situation before evidence is presented. Killing an unarmed teen IS hard to justify, but when all of the facts are known, there’s going to be a lot more to it, right?

      If McCullough were the only variable in this equation, you might be on to something, but even if he recused himself, the same people would not be satisfied finding another reason to suggest the process is rigged.

      • gmichaud says:

        No actually you are a big part of the problem, because you don’t recognize a problem exists. How do you know the same people would find another reason not be satisfied?: Do you have a Ouiji board or something?
        We don’t know how people would have acted if Mr.. McColluch showed some leadership and bent over backwards to demonstrate that the system of justice works equally for everyone. That should have been the priority, no matter what he or others feel about his qualifications. He might be the greatest prosecutor in the universe, I don’t know. The point is that there is a severe distrust in the system of government.
        In fact it is clear that the system is rigged in many muni’s. The proof is in.
        It is hard to trust justice when the system of muni corruption is still in place. Even the City of St. Louis issues far more tickets and citations than Kansas City. Although it doesn’t come close to cities like Ferguson. People in St. Louis are not inherently worse drivers than those in Kansas City.
        So distrust for the government is the backdrop of the Micheal Brown killing.
        I understand now everyone is on edge, waiting for the verdict. It was predictable it might end up here, in this place.
        Thus the need for leadership from Mr. McColluch to insure everyone feels justice is served. He hasn’t provided that leadership to this point, thus the tension in the community.

        • JZ71 says:

          You’re conflating two separate issues. While what happens in the kangaroo courts using traffic tickets to generate revenue for muni’s (that have no business being in existence) creates a climate of distrust, what happens with cases in the state court system is a completely separate issue. McCulloch has nothing to do with podunk traffic courts, his job is to prosecute felony cases in state courts. He is just one man, he’s just one part of a much larger process. IF he (or the judge) had decided NOT to proceed with any charges at the preliminary hearing, then you’d have a better argument. By turning over the decision to grand jury, he has introduced more transparency into the process, not less.

          Your fundamental concerns have very little to do with McCulloch and much to do with our state legislators and the voters who continue to elect them. These small muni’s, and the courts that they control, are a creation of the state, not the prosecutor. The laws that give police officers pretty much carte blanche to use whatever force they deem reasonable to control any situation is a creation of the state, not the prosecutor. It’s easy to make McCulloch and the police scapegoats for a system that they didn’t create (they just work within its rules). If you want “change”, it won’t come from a special prosecutor, it wil come from stripping these small muni’s of their police powers..

          Money talks – as long as we live in a system where a government can live off of revenue generated from people who can’t or don’t vote, we’re going to continue to see abuses. It doesn’t matter if it’s using TIF’s to generate sales taxes from non-residents, imposing earnings taxes on non-resident workers or creating speed traps and occupancy laws (and then imposing absurdly harsh penalties for non-compliance) in the name of “safety”, as long as there’s “free” money to be had to prop up a government that can’t survive off of property taxes, we’re going to see abuses. Consolidation would solve many of these problems, since it would eliminate many of the financial incentives currently in place, but that will require a fundamental change in Missourians’ mindset.

          Big government gets a bad name because it’s perceived to be impeneterable, but small government is much more insidious because it escapes much of the scruitny that big government gets. Ferguson wasn’t much of an issue to anyone outside of Ferguson until this happened. This could have just as well happened in Vinita Park or Wellston (or Foristel or Festus). It was much less likely to happen in the city because everything in the city gets scrutinized . . . .

  8. Larry Guinn says:

    I’ve listened to people who had an opinion of McCulloch before the Michael Brown incident, and they all said he resists political pressure to follow the law and be fair. If he’s taking time, it’s probably the right time. If he does his job right, we will see the facts for the first time, excluding heresy, racial bias, and a revenge mentality.

  9. Sgt Stadanko says:

    sorry if this is off topic but was anyone else scratching their head at why the United Nations would give the Brown family a forum to talk about the racial problems in Ferguson, MO?? i don’t mean to be insensitive but in the context of what international problems there are in the world, I have a hard time seeing how this is an international crisis or concern. And who bankrolled their makeover, that trip and what is their agenda? Thanks, Sarge

    • gmichaud says:

      It is a serious issue as many questionable black deaths across the nation since the shooting of Micheal Brown highlight the discrimination. America is basically a third world country, it’s prisons stuffed to the gills. America out does even brutal dictatorships across the globe. Something is clearly wrong. Of course the media and politicians act like they are holier than everyone else, but the decline of the American empire is clear. What really has me scratching my head is why you don’t recognize the reason the rest of the world is concerned. I guess that good old American propaganda works well huh?

      • JZ71 says:

        Our prisons are “stuffed to the gills” primarily because of our “war on drugs”. Much like the attempted (and unsuccessful) prohibition of alcohol, people will go to great lengths, including illegal ones, to obtain their recreational drugs of choice. Criminalizing the production and distribution just lays the groundwork for increased violence and incarceration. Combine that with the inevitable racism that is found in EVERY society, and yes, blacks in America ARE getting a raw deal. Can the UN “fix” this? No, not a chance. But, they can draw attention to it, just like they can draw attention to the various tribal conficts around the world, including many in Africa.

        It’s easy for someone to sit behind their computer keyboard and second guess the actions of a police officer, especially with the clarity of 20/20 hindsight. Have you ever done a ride along with an urban police department? Have you ever participated in a citizens’ police academy, where you go through shoot / don’t shoot exercises? Have you ever had the types of adversarial interactions that typify the daily lives of many urban police officers? Sure, every citizen deserves to be treated with respect, and yes, there are some bad, even, rogue officers (and they need to be weeded out). But your continual tarring of all levels of government with a broad brush is no more productive than the flag waving on Fox News embraced by the tea baggers.

        Yes, we have had many “questionable black deathes across the nation”, both before and after Michael Brown’s shooting, but only a tiny minority have directly invoved either a police officer, a white person, or both. The vast majority of criminally-involved, “questionable”, black deaths have been a direct result of black-on-black crime. Blame easy access to guns, both legal and illegal, blame domestic violence, blame drugs, blame poverty, and/or blame a no-snitch, thug culture, but, around both the country and in St. Louis, the real problem is that life, itself, is being devalued. The police are charged with trying to keep a lid on this, and there will inevitably be situations where they don’t get it right, here and around the globe. We really need to take a hard look at ourselves and our basic culture, not just blame the government that reflects those values!

        • gmichaud says:

          Well for starters I am a combat veteran (Vietnam) so yes I have been involved in many deadly force situations. I respect and honor the police and feel they do a great job, except there are too many rogue, poorly trained or simply incompetent officers. Take the Powell killing that occurred after Michael Brown. It was ruled justified, but if you watch the video you see a deranged man holding a knife 20 feet from cops who decide to empty their clips into him. It is undisciplined action, with no attempt to subdue the individual by other methods. Two cops, with guns and who knows what else (tasers and so on) and their response is to shoot him.
          I understand it is a hard job, and you have to make quick decisions, but the as the video indicates, deadly force was not a last resort, but a first one.
          As far as a broad brush approach, I cannot write huge essays, any more than you, you know as well as I that there are many facets to often complex subjects.
          However the trend is that government does not reflect the will of the people any longer. We can look at ourselves as long as we want but it does not change the fact it is primarily the wealthy government is run for, bribes are called donations.
          It has been proven beyond a doubt with the muni’s corrupt discrimination with tickets and citations, stuffing their pockets on the backs of the poor. Of course that has been the history of mankind.
          The promise of America was to end that dynamic and build a more inclusive government.
          Even the announcement by Governor Nixon did not include discussions of legislation on part of the state of Missouri to correct the gross injustices that are still in place and operating even as we speak.
          Nor did he offer legislation for making education more accessible (Missouri has a 600 million dollar shortfall for education, the concern for children is all smoke and mirrors).
          Nor is there action on jobs and public transport, legislation or action of some type.
          Of course the big thing is to wait for everything to calm then and then resume business as usual.
          As you say, “money talks”, you’re right, and that includes corrupt money.
          There is no leadership anywhere in government, it’s all people with their hands out, stuffing their own pockets as much as possible.
          What I mention above are facts about the government illustrating this lack of leadership.
          Finally I don’t know the statistics of drug users vs other offenders in prision, but a prison population larger than even a country run by the most draconian dictator is proof of a dysfunctional America.

      • Sgt Stadanko says:

        gmichaud, you are missing my point. this is a national problem. not an international problem. you have compared this problem to other countries, but you have not connected the dots on how it effects those countries. how many thugs go to other countries to terrorize the working class? they don’t! most don’t have the means to travel internationally. i can see the Browns going to congress and giving a song and dance, but the UN?!! Are you kidding me?! probably the reason these other countries don’t have filled prisons because they don’t have a fair judicial system like we do and they are probably executed on the spot. do you think the world really cares about the crime problem in America? maybe if that stops the flow of American dollars to their country, they would. you have totally missed my point. plus you haven’t answered who is bankrolling this trip and what is their agenda? how come that has not been reported? maybe because whoever bankrolled it, is using the Browns as puppets and I have a hard time believing they really care about Michael Brown at all. respectfully, Sarge

      • Sgt Stadanko says:

        after the beheading of Peter Kassig, someone who was doing good in Syria… to see the Brown family (one who is awaiting felony charges) appearing before the UN, it is disgusting that these people and those who bankrolled their makeovers and trip to Switzerland have the audacity to take their times to discuss the “torture” here in the good ol’ US by a white cop killing an unarmed black teenager that just robbed a convenience store and then tried to kill a police office (had he successfully got his firearm). these people should be ashamed. I am sure they were laughed right out there. DISGUSTING! This country is going downhill fast.

        • gmichaud says:

          America is a leader in the world, the status of America domestic problems is of concern to the world. I don’t care who is funding their trip, I’m glad a few common people get the chance to speak to so called leaders, it doesn’t happen enough, especially in America. There is a serious crime problem in the US, worse than anywhere in the world, so rosy thoughts about the greatness of America are not in order.
          You are making a huge leap thinking foreign countries are letting people go. All in all there is a serious world wide concern in that America cannot even get its own house in order and yet makes numerous demands on other nations. In other words how great is American democracy in real terms?
          I find it interesting you are demanding who is funding this minor trip by the Browns when dark money floods American elections.
          One thing that I have seen in the past few months is the the latent racism, both direct and implied that has come to the forefront in St. Louis. Every effort to discredit the African American community is undertaken, but it is no different than the reality on the ground, the discrimination by the muni’s, including the city of st louis is rampant. Black and poor equals funding opportunities, the corruption still exists, even though it has been exposed. It is business as usual. So yes there are serious problems the UN should be concerned about in St. Louis. St. Louis at this point is little better than a 3rd world dictatorship. I’m glad outside eyes are calling the corruption out, but the real question is whether the system itself is so corrupt that little or nothing will change. So far it appears that change is mostly smoke and mirrors and cosmetic and the corruption will continue.
          It is a little like Somalia or other third world countries, so yes the United Nations should be concerned. America is supposed to be a leader instead of undermining the rights of its citizens.
          Respectfully, Greg

        • gmichaud says:

          I’m not sure what happened to the comment about the beheading, but I wanted to address that also. War, at least hopefully, is not comparable to Ferguson. Nevertheless you mention that Michael Brown was trying to get the gun of Officer Wilson. I have also heard commentary saying how absurd it was to expect Brown to try to reach across the officer, into the middle of the auto and try to get his gun. They surmised that Wilson had pulled his gun and Brown was trying to defend himself. Certainly if you consider the circumstances it is a more plausible scenario, at least in my mind.
          The one thing I have seen over the past few months has been racists coming out of the wood work. I’m talking both overt and more subtle. So that everything African Americans do and say are displayed in a negative light. Even your comments reflect that approach. ie, why is the likely possibility that Wilson pulled his gun and Brown defending himself is not considered?
          It is because blacks are perceived guilty before any discussion starts.
          My take away on everything is that I am simply amazed at the racism displayed in St Louis. At this point I am not surprised there are serious problems that have attracted the attention of the United Nations.
          Respectfully, Greg


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