After weeks of hearing testimony from over 60 witnesses, along with Officer Darren Wilson himself, reviewing the crime scene, police logs, and forensic evidence, the Ferguson grand jury concluded that the evidence was insufficient to warrant indicting the shooter of Michael Brown. The good news is that the grand jury got it right. The bad news is that this case should have never been presented to a grand jury.
Law enforcement is the first in the line of defense in protecting the liberties of the individual, followed by prosecutors. Herein lies the rub.
Prosecutors have no obligation to present any case at a probable cause hearing, which generally proceeds through one of two avenues (preliminary hearing or a grand jury). Prosecutors review evidence and make decisions based on the evidence in front of them. And, of course, tens of thousands of cases are rejected annually by prosecutors after a thorough review. They never make it to a probable cause hearing.
It is common knowledge that well over 30% of all cases that go through a prosecutor’s office are never charged because there is insufficient evidence or prosecutors simply recognize that there is no reasonable likelihood of conviction.
So, why did the case involving Officer Wilson end up in front of a grand jury? Primarily because the prosecutor caved to the masses of neanderthals who threatened violence. He refused to acknowledge publicly what he most certainly knew – Officer Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown. The prosecutor was scared to do the right thing.
Indictments are incredibly easy to come by, thus the statement “You could indict a ham sandwich.” The standard to do so is incredibly low, namely probable cause – the same standard needed to arrest an individual.
So, what if Officer Wilson had been indicted? Think about that. What if he had been indicted?
He would have spent the next one to two years fighting these charges and using resources he most certainly did not have. He would have lost everything he possessed to defend himself. And he, without question, would have ultimately been acquitted.
And why would Officer Wilson have to experience all of this? Because one prosecutor refused to do the right thing at the outset by refusing to take the case to the grand jury.
We should thank our lucky stars that the grand jury was cognizant and vigilant and saw this case for what it was – a case unworthy of criminal prosecution, something prosecutors knew all along.
The essence of America’s problem can be found in this case that has been made out to be a national tragedy. Government picks and chooses whom it will protect and whom it will harass. More than that, it bends to the masses who don’t have the first clue about due process, justification, and the burden of proof.
Government refuses to take responsibility. Instead, it pretends to wrap itself around the rule of law. In this case, it used people – real people – as pawns to endure a socially-acceptable mechanism (grand jury) to produce a judicially-correct result (no indictment) which led to a culturally-repulsive response (riot). And all of this was designed to strategically deflect away from government cowardice and incompetence. This is the tragedy of America.