9 WHITES, 3 BLACKS ON GRAND JURY IN MIKE BROWN CASE; POLICE UNION BELIEVES NO CHARGES WILL ENSUE

Ferguson demonstrators outside police station with photo of Mike Brown's killer, cop Darren Wilson, projected on wall Nov. 21, 2014. Photo: Scott Olsen/Getty
Ferguson demonstrators outside police station with photo of Mike Brown’s killer, cop Darren Wilson, projected on wall Oct. 22, 2014. Photo: Scott Olsen/Getty

 

Where Is Ferguson Jury? Who Are They? It’s All Secret, and Vote Will Stay That Way

Nine votes required to indict; jurors’ identities to remain secret

Jury meeting in secret location in Clayton, MO

By Tim Bross and Andrew Harris Nov 21, 2014 5:01 AM ET

Bloomberg

Mike Brown, 18 (l), killed by Officer Darren Wilson (r) with up to 8 gunshots, on Aug. 9, 2014.

Mike Brown, 18 (l), killed by Officer Darren Wilson (r) with up to 8 gunshots, on Aug. 9, 2014.

Secrecy surrounds almost every aspect of the grand jury deciding whether a white police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson should be charged with a crime for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, has mobilized National Guard troops to support local law enforcement agencies if there is unrest after the decision, which could come as early as today.

The panel of nine whites and three blacks has been reviewing evidence since Aug. 20, 11 days after officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown, 18, in a street encounter.

Some eyewitnesses said Brown was shot while raising his hands in surrender. Police said he attacked Wilson while the officer was in his patrol car. The killing touched off street protests, some of them violent in the days after the shooting. Demonstrations have reignited as the grand jury’s determination draws near.

Mike Brown's body lying in street for four hours after he was killed, as agonized family members and neighbors watched.

Mike Brown’s body lying in street for four hours after he was killed, as agonized family members and neighbors watched.

The office of St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch hasn’t divulged when or where the grand jury meets or when its work will be done, offering only the estimate its decision will be made in mid- to late-November.

St. Louis County doesn’t include the city of the same name. Grand jurors have been meeting in suburban Clayton, the county seat.

Identities of the grand jurors, seven of whom are male and five female, will be kept secret. At least nine of them will have to agree to a charge to return an indictment.

Jury’s Vote

Michael Brown's parents Leslie McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. have testified before the United Nations.

Michael Brown’s parents Leslie McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. have testified before the United Nations.

When a decision is reached, the actual vote won’t be disclosed, only whether the jurors voted for an indictment or for what’s known as a no-true bill. State law prohibits disclosure of the vote.

Panel members are prohibited by law from disclosing anything they saw or heard in the proceeding, or expressing an opinion about them, said Paul Fox, director of judicial administration for St. Louis County.

Violating that secrecy would put a juror in contempt of court with a penalty to be determined by a judge, said Edward Magee, a spokesman for McCulloch. Magee said he’s unaware of any such prosecutions in his 19 years in the prosecutor’s office.

Ferguson cops and protesters outside police station Nov. 22, 2014.

Ferguson cops and protesters outside police station Nov. 22, 2014.

The only significant disclosure from the current proceedings has been a description of Wilson’s four hours of testimony before the grand jury that was reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper.

St. Louis County Circuit Court Judge Carolyn Whittington overseeing grand jury, must OK verdict.

St. Louis County Circuit Court Judge Carolyn Whittington overseeing grand jury, must OK verdict.

If there is an indictment, it will require the approval of Circuit Judge Carolyn Whittington, who is overseeing the grand jury operations.

The case would then go to Presiding Judge Maura McShane, who will schedule an arraignment. From there, it would be assigned randomly to a circuit judge in the court’s criminal division.

McCulloch has already decided that barring the discovery of additional relevant evidence, he will not bring charges or resubmit the case to a grand jury if Wilson isn’t indicted, Magee has said.

POLICE UNION: CHARGES UNLIKELY FOR FERGUSON COP WHO KILLED MIKE BROWN

“It’s fair to say that neither he nor his defense team expect an indictment”

(VOD: Wilson and his attorney may have violated grand jury secrecy rules by disclosing information to police union; note subsequent denial by union head that they did so.)

By David A. Lieb 

Associated Press

 November 21, 2014

(excerpt)

Jeff Roorda, Business Manager for St. Louis Police Officers Association

Jeff Roorda, Business Manager for St. Louis Police Officers Association

Jefferson City, Mo. — The suburban St. Louis police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown seems confident that he will not face criminal charges from a grand jury that has been investigating the case for several months, a police union official said Thursday.

Jeff Roorda, business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association, said he met Thursday with Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, who has remained secluded from the public eye since the Aug. 9 shooting that sparked tense and occasionally violent protests and drew national attention.

Wilson has been under a lot of pressure and stress but appeared confident in the outcome of the grand jury investigation, Roorda said.

“It’s fair to say that neither he nor his defense team expect an indictment,” Roorda said, offering his impression of the situation based on the meeting with Wilson.

Roorda later told the AP in a text message that he was only speaking for himself.

“Wilson seems confident that justice will be served, but neither he nor his attorneys shared any expectations with me,” he said in the text.

Roorda told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the AP “mistook what I said.”

Protesters demand indictment of Darren Wilson.

Protesters demand indictment of Darren Wilson.

“At no time did I say they don’t expect an indictment or that they are confident in what the outcome of the grand jury would be; it’s just that they seemed confident in the system,” Roorda said.

One of Wilson’s attorneys, who also attended Thursday’s meeting, said there was no specific discussion of expectations.

Darren WIlson attorney Neil Bruntrager

Darren WIlson attorney Neil Bruntrager

“We have absolutely no idea — no more than anyone else — what may or may not happen,” attorney Neil Bruntrager said. “The only expectation that we would have is that the grand jury would be thorough and fair.”

“We have absolutely no idea — no more than anyone else — what may or may not happen,” attorney Neil Bruntrager said. “The only expectation that we would have is that the grand jury would be thorough and fair.”

If he is indicted, Wilson will immediately turn himself in to authorities, Bruntrager said.

Wilson has been on paid administrative leave since the shooting.

A 12-person St. Louis County grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case as it weighs whether to issue charges against the white officer for the black 18-year-old’s death. A decision could come soon, though authorities have not publicized any specific date for an announcement.


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