WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an article in today's St. Louis Post-Dispatch today, "No free rein TO PROSECUTORS for misinforming and confusing jurors," Robert Weiner, a former spokesman in the Clinton White House who was spokesman for Congressional Black Caucus senior members John Conyers and Charles Rangel, and Policy Analysts Hannah Coombs and Daniel Wallace, assert that a Ferguson Grand Juror's and ACLU lawsuits against St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney, Robert McCulloch and his team, should be supported by the public and the media. The suits would allow grand jurors to speak out, and would penalize and even replace the prosecutor for providing misinformation to the grand jury.
Earlier last month, in response to the case against Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, a grand juror filed suit against Chief Prosecutor McCulloch for the First Amendment right to discuss the decision due to McCulloch allegedly misrepresenting the judgment of grand jurors in his news conference. Weiner, Coombs and Wallace assert that the case, Grand Juror Doe vs. Robert McCulloch in his official capacity as a Prosecuting Attorney, is a way to penalize prosecutors for "'fraud against the court through misinformation, confusion and lack of timeliness" -- but the case continues to be largely absent from media coverage, the writers contend.
In the law suit, with representation by ACLU, the juror is fighting to speak about grand jury proceedings as well as the decision, claiming that the prosecution's "presentation was made in a muddled and untimely manner" and falsely made the grand jury's findings appear unanimous, whereas as many as eight, a majority, may have voted to indict.
The writers also pointed out that Assistant Prosecutor Kathy Alizadeh "handed the grand jury a 1979 Missouri law that claimed it is legal to shoot a fleeing suspect — and did not tell them that the Supreme Court overturned the law 30 years ago, in 1985. Two weeks later, she gave the grand jury a document that reflected the current state of the law. But she told the jurors to fold in half the first document in order to remind themselves not to 'necessarily rely on that because there is a portion of that that doesn't comply with the law.' Confused, a juror asked if U.S. Supreme Court rulings overturn Missouri law. Instead of answering a simple 'Yes,' another assistant district attorney spoke up and responded, 'We don't want to get into a law class,'" the writers point out in the article.
The writers add, "McCulloch and his team never confronted officer Wilson, who admitted he knew Brown was unarmed, sufficiently about why and how Michael Brown was shot the second time from 35 feet away" and did not ask or determine "why didn't the policeman shoot the final shots at the legs to disable rather than the head to kill?"
Weiner, Coombs and Wallace see this law suit as the first step in holding the prosecution accountable so that "they, too, are subject to prosecution."
Weiner, Coombs and Wallace contend that "prosecutors are the final bulwark when injustice is actually committed."
The writers spoke with Tony Rothert, Legal Director of the Missouri ACLU, saying that Rothert's organization "is also supporting suits that would directly confront McCulloch and his team for fraud and removing McCulloch from office." They argue that this case is equally unreported and missing from media coverage.
Weiner and the other writers believe that these cases are not only going unreported but "deserve public support as well as ongoing media coverage." According to them, these cases are "a step in the right direction toward justice."
Prosecutor McCulloch was to respond to the Grand Juror Doe case on Monday but he filed for a two week extension. Because "the court has mandated him to respond," Weiner, Coombs and Wallace conclude, "The train of justice may be coming."
Robert Weiner is a former spokesman in the Clinton White House and was spokesman for Congressional Black Caucus senior members John Conyers and Charles Rangel. Hannah Coombs and Daniel Wallace are policy analysts at Robert Weiner Associates and Solutions for Change.
Contact: Bob Weiner, Hannah Coombs, Daniel Wallace
Tel. 301-283-0821 Cell: 202-306-1200 firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates and Solutions for Change