What’s A Grand Jury? How Will It Work In The Ferguson Case?
Interesting read from ST. Louis Public Radio broadcast with a focus on the Brown/Wilson case
and some direct quotes from Missouri law professors. Links too!!! Includes a possible list of charges.
The purpose of a grand jury, in theory, is to protect citizens against unfair and unwarranted prosecutions by the government. In medieval England, it was viewed as a protection against the Crown. Colonists found the institution protected them against unfair English prosecutions and included the right to a grand jury in the Fifth Amendment.
But in practice, the prosecutor who runs the grand jury has a great deal of influence in orchestrating the outcome. A well-worn saying is that a prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.
The grand jury that was to begin hearing evidence in the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson is a St. Louis County grand jury. St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch is in charge although his office has said that an assistant will actually be in the grand jury room.
Here’s how the grand jury process works.
How many citizens serve on a grand jury and how are they chosen?
Twelve citizens serve on Missouri grand juries. The presiding judge of the St. Louis County Circuit Court selects the grand jury from a randomly chosen master jury list. Peter Joy, a professor at Washington University Law School, said this “enables the presiding judge to ensure that the grand jury is representative of the community.” The oath taken by the grand jurors require they promise not to be motivated by “any hatred, malice or ill will.”
This is only a small piece of the article.