Sunday, December 28, 2014

Worthy Contestants

Raw Story reports (with video, below)

Young Turks host Cenk Uygur named St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch his show’s “Jerk of the Year” winner on Wednesday, saying that McCulloch earned the moniker for a lack of effort in securing an indictment against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing Michael Brown.

“If someone seeks justice, then great — at least that’s what we want. We don’t need a result that we want or demand or think is going to happen,” Uygur argued. “We just want a fair system — we want a shot. And what McCulloch did was, he robbed Michael Brown and his family and that entire community of a fair chance to see if Officer Wilson had actually done it.”

Uygur accused McCulloch of acting as a surrogate defense attorney for Wilson in front of a grand jury, citing the prosecutor’s admission that he knowingly let lying witnesses testify before the jurors, as well as the discovery that McCulloch’s team gave jurors the wrong instructions regarding a state statute regarding lethal force that was declared unconstitutional.

The most notorious of the unreliable witnesses McCulloch brought before the Clayton County grand jury was witness #40, whom the Prosecutor admitted "clearly wasn't present when this occurred. She recounted a statement that was right out of the newspaper about Wilson's actions, and right down the line with Wilson's actions. Even though I'm sure she was nowhere near the place."

Clearly not credible,  The Smoking Gun noted

As she testified, McElroy admitted that her sworn account of the Brown-Wilson confrontation was likely peppered with details of the incident she had read online. But she remained adamant about having been on Canfield Drive and seeing Brown “going after the officer like a football player” before being shot to death.

McElroy’s last two journal entries for August 9 read like an after-the-fact summary of the account she gave to federal investigators on October 22 and the Ferguson grand jury the following afternoon. It is so obvious that the notebook entries were not contemporaneous creations that investigators should have checked to see if the ink had dried.

The opening entry in McElroy’s journal on the day Brown died declared, “Well Im gonna take my random drive to Florisant. Need to understand the Black race better so I stop calling Blacks Niggers and Start calling them People.” A commendable goal, indeed.

But McCulloch faces stiff competition in one of his subordinates, Assistant District Attorney Kathy Alizadeh.  In 1979 Missouri enacted a law permitting a police officer unlimited force to arrest a fleeing suspect. However, in 1985 statutes such as this were found unconstitutional and struck down, rendering the Missouri law null and void.  On November 21, Alizadeh told the grand jury

Previously in the very beginning of this process I printed out a statute for you that was, the statute in Missouri for the use of force to affect an arrest. So if you all want to get those out. What we have discovered and we have been going along with this, doing our research, is that the statute in the state of Missouri does not comply with the case law. This doesn’t sound probably unfamiliar with you that the law is codified in the written form in the books and they’re called statutes, but courts interpret those statutes.

And so the statute for the use of force to affect an arrest in the state of Missouri does not comply with Missouri supreme, I’m sorry, United States supreme court cases.

So the statue I gave you, if you want to fold that in half just so that you know don’t necessarily rely on that because there is a portion of that that doesn’t comply with the law.

When asked its significance, another assistant D.A. responded "We don't want to get into a law class."

Lawrence O'Donnell commented

But that is not the worst, most unprofessional aspect of ADA Kathy Alizadeh’s presentation to the Grand Jury about this law. The very worst part of it is that she never, ever explained to the Grand Jury what was incorrect about the unconstitutional statute that she had given them and left with them as one of their official papers for weeks and weeks and weeks.

You will not find another legal proceeding in which jurors and Grand jurors are simply handed a law, and then weeks later handed a correction to that law; and then the Grand jurors are simply left to figure out the difference in the laws.. by themselves. That is actually something you would do in a law class – figure it out by yourself.

Robert McCulloch could have been objective, presenting all credible- not necessarily reliable, merely credible- witnesses to the grand jury so it could make an informed decision. However, while most prosecutors sway a grand jury toward handing down an indictment, he swayed them in the opposite direction. His office distorted the grand jury process so as to prejudice the panel to obtain a predetermined result, as prosecutors usually do, though in the opposite direction. His assistant was a willing, apparent enthusiastic, co-conspirator in the process.

You don't get much lower for an attorney than deliberately misleading a grand jury and then, when asked about it, offering false, patronizing assurance: "Just don't worry about that."   There are many individuals- Chris Christie comes to mind, though he should be a regular entrant- who merit consideration for jerk of the year. This year, members of the Clayton County Prosecutors Office should not be ignored.

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