Federal Lawsuit Challenges Grand Jury Secrecy In Michael Brown Shooting


A St. Louis County, Mo., grand jury member's lawsuit seeking a court order to speak out about the Michael Brown shooting investigation accuses Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch of publicly misrepresenting the panel's viewpoint after it chose not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. In a federal court suit, “Grand Juror Doe” wants freedom to challenge McCulloch's comments, “especially the implication that all grand jurors believed that there was no support for any charges.”

The filing says the heavily redacted grand jury documents McCulloch released Nov. 24 “do not fully portray the proceedings before the grand jury.” The suit says that speaking publicly could “contribute to the current public dialogue concerning race relations” that was prompted by the shooting Aug. 9 of the black teen by Wilson, a white officer. Doe wants “to advocate for legislative change to the way grand juries are conducted in Missouri,” the suit says, and be able to talk about the case “with close family members at home.” The plaintiff invokes free speech rights in asking the court to overrule as unconstitutional a Missouri law that makes it a misdemeanor for grand jurors to discuss at least certain parts of their work, including what was said in deliberations and what was the jury's vote. The suit seeks an order to prevent McCulloch from prosecuting the juror for making public remarks.

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