Coercive 13th Century Relics, They Serve the Political Interests of DAs, not Justice
In case people didn’t get it earlier, it’s time to recognize that the ancient institution of the grand jury has outlived its usefulness, and should be eliminated, as its only real purpose today is to give prosecutors political cover and an added cudgel with which to undermine Constitutional protections and intimidate witnesses.
Established back 1215 as part of the Magna Carta in England, the original intent of the grand jury was to put some constraint on the ability of the king to prosecute opponents. In modern times, its use has been reduced, and in fact, throughout the world in countries where justice systems are based upon or descended from British Common Law, it has been eliminated -- with the notable exception of the United States.
One might well ask why the US, where justice and the rule of law have been so exceptionally corrupted, perverted and and subverted in recent decades, with the virtual elimination of trial by jury in criminal cases, the undermining of habeas corpus, and the ubiquity of excessive bail, not to mention wide-spread racism in all phases of the legal process, from arrest and arraignment to jury selection and sentencing, might the US the be the lone major country still holding on to grand juries. (Hint: It can’t be for anything good.)
What we have seen in Ferguson, MO in the case of the grand jury “investigation” there of white Ferguson Police Office Darren Wilson and his six-shot slaying of the unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, and in New York City, in the case of the grand jury “investigation” of NY Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo and his killing, by illegal choke hold, of Eric Garner, the unarmed black father of six, are two examples of grand juries being used to provide the state, and specifically two elected district attorneys, with an excuse and political cover not to prosecute killer cops.
In Ferguson, an unarmed youth who was simply walking down the middle of a largely empty street, was gunned down by a police officer while he was on the ground pleading for mercy. In New York, a 43-year-old man, trying to support his family by selling cigarettes on the sidewalk was piled on by four police officers, one of whom, while the victim was being held prone on the sidewalk, his face pressed into the concrete, choked him to death with an arm hold that had long been specifically banned by the NYPD because of the number of deaths it had caused.
The prosecutor in the first case, Robert McCulloch, hails from a family of police officers -- his father and brothers were all cops, and his father had reportedly been slain while responding to a call by a black man with a sniper rifle. On that basis alone, the DA should have stepped aside in this particular case because of an unseemly appearance of and potential for bias. But it gets worse. After the grand jury reached its controversial “decision” not to indict Wilson for any violation at all in the slaying of Brown, it was reported that Democrat McCulloch, in addition to being St. Louis County’s top prosecutor, is also president of an organization called The Backstoppers, Inc., a charity that raises money to support cops in Missouri and Illinois, and to compound the felony, that had been been selling T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase: “I support Officer Wilson.”