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  1. #1

    Obligatory Ferguson Topic

    Get a loada this guy here.
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    Retired Staff piñardilla's Avatar

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    Gonna crosspost the effortpost I posted elsewhere:

    So, let's discuss how the prosecution deliberately spiked the case against Darren Wilson.

    This was never a trial. This was a grand jury hearing, which is one of two possible preliminary proceedings a prosecutor can opt for in Missouri (the other takes place before a judge rather than a jury) to pursue an indictment. An actual trial only proceeds after an indictment, on the charges for which the defendant was indicted for. These preliminary proceedings naturally have a much lower standard of proof to meet to allow the case to proceed to the next stage. The grand jury doesn't consider reasonable doubt, but rather reasonable guilt, that evidence exists that supports a plausible theory of events in which a crime was committed. Furthermore, while the adversarial process in which the prosecution and defense argue the strongest cases they can with a judge to referee the debate is a cornerstone of our justice system, it is not present in a grand jury hearing. In theory, the grand jury is just is a check to see that the prosecution has a case that can stand on its own at all, so only the prosecutor is present – no defense, no judge, only a jury of 12 lay persons. Because of this, though, grand juries are extremely malleable to the prosecutor's whim in practice, and with the low threshold of proof they need to act, they are largely seen as a rubber stamp process. The Chief Judge of the NY Court of Appeals once famously commented that a grand jury could be persuaded to indict a ham sandwich. Because they are so terrible, America is the only country left with jurisdictions that still use grand juries at all. Under ordinary circumstances, an unarmed man being gunned down at a distance would have easily been enough on its own to secure an indictment by any remotely competent prosecutor.

    Okay, so what about that remote possibility that prosecutor Bob McCulloch simply fucked it up? Well, it wouldn't be his first – after Darren Wilson, McCulloch is now 0 for 5 on securing indictments against police. With Nate Silver pointing out that in 2010, grand juries returned an indictment on over 99.99% of cases, those are terrible fucking odds for that happening by chance. There's a track record of misconduct in those cases as well: in the last case he prosecuted against cops (also involving white cops shooting unarmed black men), he withheld expert analysis from the grand jury that contested the defendants' self-defense narrative, and lied to the media that all witnesses had testified to the accuracy of the self-defense narrative, when only 3 of 13 did (and two of those were the defendants). When called out on it by the media, he angrily defended himself by saying the victims deserved to be shot because "these guys were bums".

    Why would McCulloch grant such special favor to the police? Well, there's a perverse disincentive against prosecutors going hard after cops, because prosecutors rely on cooperation with the police to do their jobs. A prosecutor that convicts a cop can end up getting dicked around on future cases until it ends his career. For this reason, I personally support appointing a special prosecutor in all cases against police. But McCulloch has an even deeper connection to the police than that. His father was a police officer himself, killed in the line of duty by a black man at the height of the civil rights movement. McCulloch himself wanted to be a policeman, but was unable to do so because of physical disability, so he decided becoming a prosecutor instead would be the second best thing. Given his history and track record against cops, the community has been calling for McCulloch to recuse himself ever since it became known that he would be prosecuting, precisely because the community feared he would spike the case. But he refused to do so, dodging accountability by saying he would recuse himself if Governor Jay Nixon asked him to, while Nixon himself said McCulloch should recuse himself but wouldn't directly ask him to do so. And then McCulloch went on to do exactly as this community feared all along.

    How did he get the grand jury to punt on indictment? The most critical thing was his decision to dispense with the usual strategy of recommending specific charges to the grand jury and presenting them with the supporting evidence. Even suspending judgment for a moment on how and why he deviated from the normal process, doing anything extremely unusual when the entire community doubts your objectivity is just monumentally stupid in itself. What he decided to do instead was decline to recommend specific charges at all, and simply dumped all available evidence on the jury for months and then told them to decide if there was probable cause or not. So rather than presenting a case to the jury and only needing them to agree, he made the bewildering decision to pass the buck of determining if and what crimes occurred to a handful of average Joes uneducated in law. Counting on any one juror to stand up, take charge and do the prosecutor's job for him, pick through the evidence to convince the rest of the group of a theory of events and what laws were broken, when everyone is tired of the process and underpaid and just wants to go home already? That's an tremendously uphill task to say the least, unheard of outside the film 12 Angry Men. He also permitted Darren Wilson to testify his own version of events, despite no obligation at all on his part to do so, so the jury also had an easier path laid out for them. Of course they took it, why would anyone doubt for a second they wouldn't? Why would anyone give Bob McCulloch the benefit of the doubt that this isn't exactly what he intended?

    At this point, it requires willful blindness to pretend justice was done here. The black community of Ferguson has been betrayed by the system at every level, and all this pain and suffering has been inflicted upon them purely for the sake of shielding one white cop from even the appearance of accountability.

    All they wanted was a trial.
         
       
    Now,
              let's go play, together...
       
    Together under the
                     clearest of
    blue skies.

  3. #3
    Oddly enough 12 Angry Men is one of my favorite films of all time.

    Also what you said clears a lot of confusion about this entire issue. I wasn't sure exactly how this went down, I just know somewhere along the line the ball was dropped so hard it caused an earthquake in Japan. Now it's April, 1992 all over again.
    Get a loada this guy here.
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  4. #4
    Senior DrunkCat's Avatar
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    Whelp, pina spiked the thread. The only thing I would bold is the prosecutors out right refusal to even advise the Grand Jury. It all smells like shit but that in particular (given the malleability of a jury) pretty much betrays an insane amount of bias. Even Angela Corey was smart enough to simply put out ludicrous charges (First/Second degree) that are obviously flagrant enough to judge down.
    Last edited by DrunkCat; 11-25-2014 at 10:33 AM.
    "To tell us that every species of thing is endowed with an occult specific quality by which it acts and produces manifest effects, is to tell us nothing; but to derive two or three general principles of motion from phenomena, and afterwards to tell us how the properties and actions of all corporeal things follow from those manifest principles, would be a very great step." -Issac Newton, Optics
    "You are what you do not do." - Relax

  5. #5
    Senior Kurk2288's Avatar
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    Ditto DrunkCat, and Pinardilla deserves medal for that post.
    I really hope these protests make an impact on laws and policies.
    Otherwise, shit is going to hit the fan sooner or later...

    This is why things like the 2nd amendment are important.

  6. #6
    Bread and circuses! BREAD AND CIRCUSES!

    God am I full after last night.

    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/all-fe...r-easy-viewing

    We have another burning cop car.
    Last edited by TeenageAngst; 11-25-2014 at 11:58 PM.
    Get a loada this guy here.
    https://twitter.com/DogdongD

  7. #7
    Senior Namba's Avatar
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    People like Piñardilla are the reason we need a like button up in this joint.

  8. #8
    Senior Rilvor's Avatar
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    That is quite the impressive post. It astounds me how deeply you follow these things. I'd almost say it's downright worrisome but I assume this is a hobby of yours.

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    Retired Staff piñardilla's Avatar

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    Awww, you guys are sweet. Y'all should see the reactions that post got at the other place I posted it at. The disparity would be hilarious if it weren't depressing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rilvor View Post
    It astounds me how deeply you follow these things. I'd almost say it's downright worrisome but I assume this is a hobby of yours.
    Yeah, it's not exactly a secret that I'm kind of a politics wonk. It's good for flexing the critical thinking skills, and I feel obligated to keep informed because apathy and ignorance seem to be such a big part of the problem with everything today and I refuse to contribute to that. Sometimes being aware of just how much awful shit is going on kinda weighs heavy on my shoulders, but on the other hand, sometimes it provides for some incredible gallows humor that nobody else that doesn't follow politics finds funny.
         
       
    Now,
              let's go play, together...
       
    Together under the
                     clearest of
    blue skies.

  10. #10
    Senior Rilvor's Avatar
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    I'm guilty of looking up more often than around sometimes. It's hard not to get transfixed by the stars when you already know that the dirt is at your feet.

    Not to say that I am apathetic, I'm just more interested in other things.

 

 

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