St. Louis County prosecutor shows how to not get an indictment
By Jerryl T. Christmas From the St. Louis American
LOUIS, MO. – As a former prosecutor and grand jury attorney, it’s difficult for me to watch the theatrics of this prosecution play out. Bob McCulloch wants the media to believe that the way he’s presenting the Ferguson shooting case to the grand jury is normal procedure. Not so. In reality, he’s prolonging a charade when it’s obvious that he simply doesn’t want to charge Darren Wilson.
Here’s how it works in the real world: A person is arrested. The police take the case to the prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor’s office talks with the officer and any witnesses available. The prosecutor determines the proper charges. The case is charged by information and set for preliminary hearing or grand jury review. Probable cause has to be determined by a neutral party before the case can move forward to trial.
In a preliminary hearing, the prosecutor presents their evidence in open court, the defense has an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses and the judge determines if there is probable cause to move forward. In the grand jury, the prosecutor presents evidence to the grand jury. The grand jurors decide if “probable cause” exists.
Grand jury proceedings are secret and closed to the public; grand jurors are not allowed to discuss any of the evidence they hear outside of the grand jury.