Weaseling out of things is what separates us from the animals. – Homer Simpson
I did something I almost never do around midnight Monday night – I commented on breaking news using a hashtag. #FergusonDecision.
I never do that, for many reasons. But, I watched St. Louis County Prosecutor McCullough’s presentation with such . . . incredulity . . . I had to ‘say’ something. My house was pretty quiet at midnight, so …
A quick, somewhat oblique tweet about how McCullough’s summation was excellent – for a defense attorney. My very simple rationale – no one who has ever dealt professionally at any level has ever – ever – heard a prosecutor, never mind the District Attorney for a major metropolitan area, lay out a case he lost like McCullough did.
Because, in theory, that’s what happened – he laid out a case on behalf of the state, the people of St. Louis County, and the family of the Michael Brown, and the grand jury turned him down.
Prosecutors do not take losses well. They go on and on about their feeling the guy was guilty and lament that they couldn’t put a case together. Don’t believe it? (a) You have never been involved with a prosecutor on any level, congratulations, live well; (b) look at the statements by the Pennsylvania prosecutor who couldn’t bring charges against Bill Cosby in 2005, he is hardly shy about his frustration.
Within seconds, I got ripped by replies. Did I want McCullough to invent evidence? (Umm, no.) Am I one of them there knee-jerk liberal white-guilt ridden lefty assholes. (Nope). Don’t I know what justice is? (Not a clue, actually, not in 2014 – I know what retribution, imprisonment, revenge, vengeance, ‘paying dues’, and a thousand more words like them mean, but not justice).
I have no idea what happened on that street in Ferguson. I’ve read hundreds of police reports, talked to hundreds of defendants, and maybe, maybe, know what really happened in ten or so instances.
I do know the following:
- You, me, anyone not a police officer in Missouri, is indicted and headed for trial for shooting an unarmed man;
- If all prosecutors brought actions to grand juries the way McCullough brought this one court dockets would be much, much less crowded;
- If you have to fire 12 shots to hit someone 6 times, you shouldn’t be near a gun;
- If you have to shoot an unarmed man because you are in fear of your life while carrying mace, a baton, and presumably having undergone self-defense training, you have no business protecting and serving anyone.
Take a look at my last post, or Judge Rakoff’s article in The New York Review of Books and then tell me that 99.999% of the population wouldn’t have been at least indicted.