should brown prosecutor be charged?

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by sifreak21, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. sifreak21 Valued Senior Member

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  3. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    " St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch admitted Friday that he believed multiple witnesses lied under oath while testifying before the grand jury that heard the case of Michael Brown, an unarmed teen who was shot dead by a police officer in August.

    In a lengthy interview with the local radio channel KTRS 550, McCulloch said that he did not plan to pursue charges against witnesses who may have lied and that it was his decision early in the process to let anyone who claimed to have witnessed Brown’s Aug. 9 death to be presented before the grand jury.

    “I thought it was much more important to present anybody and everybody,” McCulloch said, “and some, yes, clearly were not telling the truth, no question about it.”

    Well he didn't lie, the people who testified lied , so how can he be held responsible for something he didn't do? If a witness lies they are the ones that should be put in jail because they were the ones who started the problem not the prosecutor.
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  5. Bells Staff Member

    I think he should be investigated and his actions and his instructions should be investigated.

    And if it is found that he broke the law, and the laws in question are both federal and state legislation, then he should be treated according those statutes.

    I do think his admitting to having allowed perjury on what appears to be multiple occasions and his not having informed the grand jury that those witnesses were lying is a huge breach and one that literally made a mockery of the law he is meant and obliged to adhere to as an attorney.

    By law, he is required to not allow someone on the stand if he knows they are going to lie or if they are lying. If while on the stand they start to lie, or it becomes clear they are lying, then by law, he is required to inform the court of this. And he admitted that he knew and he said nothing.

    I do not understand why he would have taken such a huge and frankly stupid and illegal risk. We now know what he hoped to achieve, but not why he would taint and sully the whole process and make a mockery of the whole proceeding as he did. Is he hoping federal investigators now take over and possibly try Wilson under the Civil Rights laws? Because his admitting that he committed a crime in that grand jury and allowed witnesses to perjure themselves and perjure themselves in such a way as to have a possible impact on the outcome of the hearing, could result in federal charges against Wilson, not to mention against himself for what he had done
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  7. Bells Staff Member

    The law states that as an attorney, he has a duty to not put someone he knows is lying on the witness stand and allow them to lie to the court. That is actually illegal.

    It is called subordination of perjury. And it is a federal crime. McCulloch took an oath to not lie to the court and to not allow others to lie to the court. He is required by law to inform the court and the jury and grand jury if someone is lying while under oath. That oath and the law also requires that he does not put someone on the witness stand that he knows is going to lie or is going to testify under oath and and lie.

    He can be held responsible because at least one witness was found to have given a false and misleading statement to investigators and so her statement was discounted as a result of the fact that they discovered she as lying and that it was impossible for her to have seen what she claims to have seen because she was never there to have seen it. The very next day, he put her on the witness stand, where she perjured herself and repeated the same lie and added more lies. As an officer of the court and having taken an oath, he was required to inform the court and the grand jury that her testimony was false and not true. In fact, knowing that she was lying, it was illegal for him to have put her on the stand and allowed her to swear an oath to tell the truth and then lie. And he has admitted that she was not the only one. Not only that, he has advised that he will not press charges against anyone who perjured themselves. When you think about how their lies may have swayed the jury to possibly rule as they did to not indict, especially Witness#40, who was relied upon so much for her testimony, allowed to return with her notes so she could lie some more and perjure herself even more when he admits it was clear she was lying and that she was not even there and therefore could not have witnessed it... It is a pretty huge deal. And it's big enough that if he is not investigated and made to face a disciplinary hearing for what he did, at the very least, then there is something severely wrong with the legal system in the US.

    This is a serious enough offense that he could face a prison term if he is found guilty. And not just under State law, but also under federal law as well.

    As far as bad things a lawyer can do in a court room, this one is right at the top.
  8. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member


    If one witness testifies that they saw something one way and another witness say they saw it just the opposite, which one is lying?
  9. Bells Staff Member

    You misunderstand..

    This isn't conflicting reports or testimony from two people who were there.

    The so called witness that the prosecutor admitted was lying and they knew she was lying did not see anything. She wasn't even there.

    She was never a witness to the shooting. She was never in Ferguson on that day.

    She went to the authorities about 4 weeks after the shooting occurred and lied to them. When they went through her statement and questioned her, they realised she was lying because they realised there was no way she could have been where she claimed to have been. So they discredited her for having been lying. She has a record of this sort of behaviour, of lying to police and trying to insert herself into high profile cases.

    He put her on the witness stand, had her swear an oath to tell the truth and then allowed her to lie repeatedly. Then invited her back to lie some more and this time bring in the notes she claimed she had made after the shooting.

    They then relied on her testimony as proof that what happened happened as Wilson said it did.

    She got her story from the report released to the media, which detailed what Wilson had reported happened.

    Knowing this, they classified her as a material witness to the shooting, in that she testified to have witnessed the shooting. They allowed her to lie to the court and the grand jury under oath and then allowed her testimony to taint the proceeding and possibly sway it in not indicting Wilson and they then invited her to do it again a few weeks later with her fake journal.

    This is a crime. In pretty much every country with a legal system, it is a crime for an attorney to do this. A lawyer can go to jail and lose their license to practice law for doing this. As I said, this is up there in the list of 'things to never ever do' as a lawyer.

    And it is shocking that the prosecutor did this. It is criminal.

    It's hard to imagine what the hell he was thinking to allow her to take the stand, knowing she was lying and was going to lie under oath and then invited her back to do it all over again.

    By law, he is not allowed to do this. It is illegal to induce, invite or allow someone to perjure themselves and to do this knowingly. He invited her back again and knowingly allowed her to perjure herself again. He then allowed her lies to taint the jury for weeks. He never once told the grand jury jury that she was lying, which he is required to do by law. Not doing so is also a crime.

    And it isn't just her.

    Apparently there are other witnesses he claims he knew were lying under oath.
  10. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member


    So when a defense attorney puts his own client on the stand and the attorney knows that he/she is lying , how can that testimony be proven wrong if that was their side of the story? What happens to the lawyer representing such a case ?
  11. Bells Staff Member

    Umm they don't put their clients on the stand to lie.

    This is why their clients often do not testify. They won't put them on the stand if they believe they are lying or may lie. If they do, they are investigated and it's literally a case of they could up up having to pay a fine, lose their license or even face the possibility of imprisonment.

    And it should also be mentioned that this was not a trial. His role as a prosecutor was to present evidence to the grand jury for them to indict or not indict. He presented tainted evidence and knowingly allowed and invited people to perjure themselves in front of the grand jury.

    In a trial, her testimony would easily have been proven wrong. The police and FBI asserted she was not there and was lying. Just reading their report would have been enough. But this was not a trial. She was allowed and then invited back to lie under oath and the prosecutors knew she was lying.
  12. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    Many times defense attorneys know their client did something wrong because their client told them so. Does the defense attorney have to tell the court that his client was guilty or provide no information to assist in finding his client guilty?

    I agree with you that the prosecutor did some very bad things no one did anything about it which was amazing to me.
  13. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    We're now seeing a quiet American phenomenon.

    Okay, the thing is that we allegedly hate lawyers.

    The exception, of course, is that an American does not hate his or her own lawyer.

    "He may be a shark," we say with a wink to the next guy, "but at least he's my shark."

    What we are about to see in re Mr. McCulloch is a society set aside its usual prejudice about lawyers while everyone runs around pretending to be one.

    Without doing so, we would otherwise be at a point where everybody has to admit that McCulloch cooked himself as well as the case.

    Okay, here's one: You remember that one guy who was hollering, "Hear! Hear!" and celebrating the "inconvenient truth" of the grand jury?

    Right. There will be a number of people who bought into that sort of talk; they have their own issues about racism to deal with, but they were taught this way and that and for just a moment it looked like things would be "right" in the world. And you won't know who all those people were, because some of them were at least smart enough to not go crowing in the town square. But this is the time when those folks are going to pull out everything in their li'l bag o'tricks because it's not merely a dead black man, a police officer, and now a prosecutor on the line. Oh, no, this is far more important than that. This is about them being right or wrong and what that means because the one thing that is really, really, really important for the rest of us to recognize is that they are not racists. Because in the name of proving that they are not racists they will suddenly pretend to be very, very ignorant.

    I can't say that's what our neighbor is on about, but it is also true that his posts at #2↑, 5↑, and 7↑ show a curious naïveté that I wouldn't otherwise expect. Indeed, where his and my generations overlap culturally in general, I would expect him to know the answers to these questions. Whether he's radioplay Untouchables, teleplay Untouchables, or flowerplay older than I am, he's still of a time when police and prosecutors were fonts of principle in fiction, redefined downward by reality. He's facing a time when things are bad enough that part of the discourse involves attempting to redefine the police upward by reality, except it is a context of reality that is dragging them down.

    And he's seen something that looks like this before. And it should not be happening in the twenty-first century.

    When people revert to that sort of "How does this work, again?" the only real question is why. That answer will tell us how to answer the general inquiry.

    And when I stop and think about it for a moment, part of what seems so unreal is that it is taking place in such plain view. It is almost as if, well, you know how sometimes one rages, "What does it take! What has to happen before people get it!" and, well, you find yourself blinking like a fool in the sunlight because the most difficult thing about describing what is going on is that everyone around you seems to have suddenly become entirely unaware of things you damn well know they damn well knew yesterday? This is almost like Life having Will. You know, God. Because it's so damnably apparent right now that one can almost imagine that little tweak: I wonder if they'll notice ... this.

    We are well into the realm of farce. And that's the thing; there were plenty of ways to whitewash this already tarnished officer, and this is the route they chose, to hold a public orgy of basic human cruelty and corruption right before our eyes. Bob McCulloch has exactly one path to redemption, and that would be at the press conference immediately after he is disbarred, when he steps up to the microphone and utters only one sentence.

    And then between a quarter and a third of the country falls over laughing, and McCulloch shuffles off into history as a reviled figure, but at least he went and said it.

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    Mr. Fish, 30 November 2014
  14. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    In truth, the odds of this happening are probably remote. The thing is that Bob McCulloch gets a similar presumption of good faith that police do, and even federal attorneys have their doubts over whether they can prosecute a law enforcement official for acting in bad faith because, well, he lied in good faith. Or, in McCulloch's case, he acted in good faith when he promoted a witness he knew to be lying.

    To wit, the following is all presupposed as a matter of law and process:

    • Bob McCulloch acted in good faith when he convened an extraordinary grand jury.

    • Bob McCulloch acted in good faith when he and his team argued as if they were defending the subject of the extraordinary grand jury he convened.

    • Bob McCulloch acted in good faith when taking the extraordinary step of putting the subject of that extraordinary grand jury on the stand for four hours.

    • One interesting statistic will be the final assessment of how each witness was treated by prosecutors. The general theme so far suggests McCulloch was notably less adversarial toward those who testified on the officer's behalf, including the officer himself and the witness he knew to be lying. But, hey, something, something good faith. No, really. That's how it works in this country.

    • Prosecutors acted in good faith when they wrongly informed the jury about the law immediately before undertaking the extraordinary step of putting the subject of the extraordinary grand jury investigation on the stand for four hours without questioning him adversarially. Furthermore, we must also presume that they acted in good faith when they labored in court to avoid explaining to the grand jury exactly what wrong information had been given.

    • We must accept that prosecutors are acting in good faith when not concerned about the differences between testimony in the officer's defense and physical evidence.

    • We must accept that prosecutors have in good faith pursued due process and equal protection under the law by undertaking this extraordinary process.​

    It's a tall order, to be certain.

    But the odds one can get an indictment against McCulloch? Remember, it doesn't really matter, to any practical legal effect, that tanking this case was the predictable outcome↱. This is how it goes; law enforcement can lie in good faith.

    As I noted recently↗, Bob McCulloch is getting ready to stand on a presupposition of good faith.

    And it may well be enough.


    Romano, Andrew. "Why Ferguson is so mad at prosecutor Bob McCulloch". Yahoo News. 25 November 2014. 28 December 2014.
  15. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

    That's not what subornation of perjury is:

    There is no allegation being made in the article or in your post that the lawyer subornated perjury.

    So I repeat the question to the OP: what crime do you think the lawyer committed and what is your evidence?
  16. Bells Staff Member

    They knowingly invited and then put her on the stand, knowing she was going to perjure herself. Knowing she was lying, at no time did they inform the jury of the fact that they knew she was never there. Instead, she was a material witness, who fully corroborated Wilson's account. They then invited her back, and then encouraged her to bring in the false documents to present to the jury. That, by any stretch of the imagination, is the subornation of perjury. By asking her to return to perjure herself and encouraging her to bring in the fake journal that they knew contained lies, since she told them that it contained notes on what she had seen - they knew she was not there, so she could not have seen anything.. What they did was criminal.
  17. Photizo Ambassador/Envoy Valued Senior Member

  18. Bells Staff Member

    Firstly, please try and contain the woo religious scripture to the religious forums.

    Secondly, do you actually even understand that your quote contradicts the article you linked? Perhaps you should quote that passage of scripture to Lowry.
  19. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    I'll ask again.

    What happens to a defense attorney that knows his/her client did the crime as charged but doesn't tell anyone but defends his/her client against the charges against them?
  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    I can't possibly account for all the variations, but it largely depends on just how the lawyer goes about it.

    It's a complicated juggling and tap-dancing routine. But it's all in the method.

    And it's the way things are supposed to be: Every accused should get a vigorous defense.

    Normally, however, that should be from a defense attorney, not a prosecutor who has a career record of empowering criminals who wear badges.
  21. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    In general, no one knows except the other witnesses. The whole point of a trial is to find the truth. If witnesses disagree with each other, it's the duty of the prosecuting and defense attorneys to sort it out for the jury.

    It's quite common for two witnesses to give contradictory accounts of something they saw, even though neither of them is deliberately lying. Over the past few decades, it's been established that eyewitness testimony ain't worth shit. The observations of many witnesses are only a few seconds long. Very few people have enough observational skill to be certain that their recollection is accurate.

    There have been many experiments that validate this. In one, several groups of observers failed to see a human in a gorilla costume walk out of an elevator, because they had an assignment to count the number of people who pushed the DOWN button and the UP button. Anyone who did not push one of the buttons went unseen.
  22. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Yes, that is what subornation of perjury is. Read your own damn link. Read the next sentence after the phrase you quoted. It is subornation of perjury for a lawyer to put a witness on the stand and under oath whom the lawyer knows, or should have known, to be lying, and fail to reveal that knowledge to the court. Your link says so.

    The defense attorney is supposed to defend them without having them, or anyone, lie under oath. It's the lie under oath that you cannot legally, as a lawyer, abet.

    Defense attorneys - or any attorneys in an actual trial - are seldom pressed hard about what they do or do not "know" personally. That is partly because there is an automatic check on their ability to rig things, namely the opposing "side", so their knowledge is limited in its effects - there is only a certain degree to which they can rig things anyway. Put a mentally disturbed liar on the stand, and your case is likely to be taken apart in front of the jury by the cross examination.

    But if you can rig things so that there is no cross examination, no other side presenting its case, then there is no limit except your liability under the law. And McCullough has been raised his entire life in a world in which he has no liability for failing to protect black people or the black community from white people's assaults, or for protecting white police officers from the consequences of anything they do to black people. He wasn't being heroic, putting his life and reputation on the line for a cop in a jam - he simply didn't see any risk, to himself, in what he did. When he rigged that jury hearing, he did so without fear of accountability.

    The alternative explanation would be a degree of legal incompetence difficult to believe in lawyer with his experience and job title.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
  23. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

    Looks like your system is fuckered. "Oh those darn [group1]! Why can't they be as [value1] and [value2] as [group2]?" Except that they aren't, because you aren't. None of you are. Your meritocracy is all about which one of you stinks less at that moment. You don't lie in extremis: you tell the truth in extremis, when you're forced to do so. Look at this shit:

    Right right - truth isn't truth. It has kinds. You have to shake your head and get it. You have to lie - vigorously, sometimes - to get where you want to go, or not go. Of course. Because an adversarial justice system is about justice. That's why it's adversarial; and if it's unequal, well, that's just the way it is. So if one side changes the stakes, or the game, surely that won't provoke overcompensation from the other side, which is empowered to do whatever the hell it does. Don't they understand that we're the good guys?

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