Missouri Governor Calls For “Vigorous Prosecution” Before The Completion Of The Investigation Into Ferguson Shooting

220px-Jay_Nixon_cropWhile like many I was shocked by the story of the shooting of an unarmed man, Michael Brown, by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, I have refrained from making public comments due to the conflicting accounts that have arisen in the case. As a criminal defense attorney, I have long resisted the tendency to rush to judgment, particularly in the midst of public unrest, in such cases. I saw that as a problem in the Trayvon Martin case. Those same concerns were raised this morning with the statement of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon who publicly stated that “a vigorous prosecution must now be pursued.” Presumably, he is speaking of the arrest and prosecution of Officer Darren Wilson. However, the investigations into the case are continuing and, in my view, Nixon’s comments are wildly inappropriate at this stage.

Nixon previously referred to Brown as the “victim” and denounced the release of this video of Brown strong-arming a store owner in stealing some cigars shortly before the shooting:

The video was released by police who were accused of trying to portray Brown as a violent thug — a similar concern that was raised in the aftermath of the Martin shooting. Police insisted that it is part of the record of the case since this was the crime that preceded the confrontation with Wilson. Of course, even if Brown stole the merchandise and threatened the store owner, it still does not justify the use of lethal force on an unarmed individual. Moreover, I am appalled that Brown’s body was left on the street for hours.

However, the facts in this case remain in considerable conflict. Rivaling accounts support both Brown and Wilson. The early objective evidence is also in conflict. While Brown’s friend said that Brown was shot in the back, the autopsies do not appear to support that (though the family insists that one of the arm wounds could have come from behind). Moreover, a recording and some witness accounts after the shooting seemed to support the claim of Wilson. Others support Brown. In other words, the facts are in dispute. Under some circumstances, the shooting of an unarmed individual can be found to be justified under standards governing officers.

There is also the recent report that Wilson suffered facial injuries or an “orbital blowout fracture to the eye socket” from the encounter. Such an injury, if true, could boost a defense.

The case could be submitted to a grand jury as early as today. We should learn more from the tests and forensics in the days to come. However, as a criminal defense attorney, I am deeply concerned about the Governor’s statements. Any prosecution would already be hindered by venue and bias issues. It is the duty of a governor to reinforce the rule of law and avoid pre-judging cases before any investigation is completed. Others certainly have the right to be heard on their views of the facts, even as they continue to emerge. However, Nixon is the chief executive of this state and does a disservice to legal process in prejudging the facts in my view. Such comments from either a President (who in the case of Obama has been much more restrained and circumspect) or a governor can seriously undermine the foundation for a fair trial and create the appearance of political pressure on prosecutors, judges, and others.

Nixon stated that “We have a responsibility to come together, and do everything we can to achieve justice for [Brown’s] family . . . to achieve justice in the shooting death of Michael Brown must be carried out thoroughly, promptly, and correctly.” The “correct” way of achieving justice is not to presume guilt as the facts are still being investigated in my view.

294 thoughts on “Missouri Governor Calls For “Vigorous Prosecution” Before The Completion Of The Investigation Into Ferguson Shooting”

  1. Uh, Limey, old sport: tell us the unvarnished complete story about how the late famous comedian croaked and whether he was a Scientologist or Geneiologist or just what ever?

  2. Yes, Neo, the merchants of chaos are at it again. The public even missed 9/11 for the most part. How many caught the psych drug suicide of our late famous comedian? If you discount the Scientologists & CCHR members, the number is close to zero. (& its clear that the Scientologists are being very carefully discounted when your own computer rejects the proper spelling!) You all should revisit Orwell’s 1984 and take a more contrarian view to what you are told. Robin Williams made every tabloid but none printed the real explosive truth. (I guess all publications are run or owned by the same cartel)

  3. bigfatmike —-> “If you are reading about the political history of Paul Ryan, social effects of abortion, economic effects of minimum wage or UI benefits then some skepticism might be in order.”

    Or stalking.

  4. I wish people would stop using Wikapedia as a truth source link. Any website where anyone can edit the results cannot be trusted to always contain real facts……. period. There are plenty of other great, factual sources to use a truth reference.

    Jim Rose

    1. Sure there are errors in wiki. But for many articles in many areas, wiki is about as good as it gets for that type of reference.

      Some studies indicate the error rate in wiki is about the same as in Britannica.

      Wiki does have some real problems with some trying to adjust the political message in some articles.

      When it comes to technical subjects, wiki is probably a pretty good summary of recent – not the very latest – results. When it comes to subjects that are related to recent ‘culture wars’, the reader should be aware that there are well documented attempts to give a political slant to articles in wiki. To wiki’s credit, many articles inform the reader that the article is controversial.

      You can change the source, but the reader can never avoid the necessity to evaluate and use the source with judgement.

      When it comes to wiki, if you are reading about Lauren Bacall or Hamming distance, or many other subjects the articles are probably pretty good for a first, quick read.

      If you are reading about the political history of Paul Ryan, social effects of abortion, economic effects of minimum wage or UI benefits then some skepticism might be in order.

  5. Fiver,

    You can run but you can’t hide from the truth; the facts. That pesky old “light of day” eliminates the darkness. I’m very sorry. You got caught trying to pass off a falsehood as reality – happens all the time with liberal/socialist/collectivist/ communist/democrats who are truth deniers and Ponzi-type schemers who profit from misleading the gullible. That is unfortunate.

    That was a weak but acceptable concession. I’ll take it.

    Here is the material “rest” of the “article” you requested:
    Emulsion – Wikipedia

    “Common emulsions are inherently unstable and, thus, do not tend to form spontaneously. Energy input – through shaking, stirring, homogenizing, or exposure to power ultrasound

    IS NEEDED to form an emulsion.

    Over time, emulsions tend to REVERT

    to the stable state of the phases comprising the emulsion.

    An example of this is seen in the separation of the oil and vinegar components of vinaigrette, an unstable emulsion that


    Let’s repeat that together, “will quickly separate unless shaken almost continuously.”

    Your “emulsion” is perishable and terminal. Your “emulsion” is false and entirely synthetic and artificial. Your “emulsion” will not stand alone for time.

    P.S. It’s is profoundly edifying for those who seek the truth, that destructive, collectivist Ponzi schemes like Medicare, Obama care, Social Security, Welfare, public school/college would “wither on the vine” or separate like unstable “emulsion” if left to their own devices and not paid for through punitive and confiscatory taxation of the host segment by the parasitic segment.

    P.P.S. Two of the Ten Commandments as a guideline – Thou Shalt Not Steal – Thou Shalt Not Covet. One may not think about another man’s money and one may not take another man’s money…unless you’re a liberal/progressive/collectivist/socialist/communist or democrat.

    P.P.P.S There is another relevant Commandment; Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness.

    Now there you go.

  6. Beldar here: Louisville is nice. Need to explore. Going south with the Louisville Slugger to New Orleans. She has an aunt down there in Metarie. My boss back on Remulak is going to assign me a central headquarters in the U.S. Central they said. What is more central than Saint Louis? It was a French city prior to the Louisiana Purchase. We are from France! I am deciding in the next week or so. Going to Austin Texas too. Been reading a book on LBJ by Doris Kearnes Goodwin. He was a strong arm President. I might make my headquarters in downtown old Ferguson. The wifi did not work well there. Another neighborhood was called Soulard. It is part of the city proper– City of Saint Louis. For you folks who lived there in the metro area please chime in. When put on Earth I was equipped with humanoid attributes and can speak English and French. Ou se trouve une toilet? They do not speak French in Saint Louis. My Louisville Slugger has a relative which she describes as a Cajun. She says that they speak French and indian or some such. We will see. I have a running mate and I am happy. Time will tell if there is justice for the cop or if the governor incites the Grand Jury to indict.

  7. John,

    Read the rest of the article. This is not rocket science (or even evolutionary biology).

    But for now, I’m done arguing against Hollandaise Denial 😉

    Have a nice day.

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