The Corner

In Ferguson, Evidence Is the Enemy

One of the strangest arguments to come out of the Ferguson legal wrangling: The prosecutor presented a case that was insufficiently biased.

That is exactly what Brown family attorney Daryl Parks said yesterday, complaining on Fox News that the prosecutor presented the grand jury with both “evidence to indict” and also “possible defenses or actions or justifications.” Just to be clear, he explained that his objection was to giving the grand jury “all the evidence,” because, in doing so, “it’s not as if he’s putting in a posture to get an indictment.”

Of course it is the case that prosecutors very often bias their grand jury presentations against defendants, e.g., those Travis County, Texas, knuckleheads who engaged in political jihads against Tom DeLay and Rick Perry. But grand juries are not rubber stamps for the prosecution; it is their job to determine whether a prosecution is warranted. Missouri law gives grand juries relatively wide license in investigating the issues set before them, and it should go without saying that they deserve to look at all the evidence. To complain that legal institutions are insufficiently hostile, and to maintain that they are doing wrong by making all the evidence available, is to misunderstand what the law is there to do. 

I am not much of a legal analyst, but if your argument comes down to a complaint that grand jurors were given “all the evidence,” that’s pretty weak tea. 


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