Grand Jury Expected to Reconvene Today, Unclear If Proceedings Will Ever Be Public

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The Buzz Westfall Justice Center in downtown Clayton. - JESSICA LUSSENHOP
  • Jessica Lussenhop
  • The Buzz Westfall Justice Center in downtown Clayton.

The grand jury in the Darren Wilson-Michael Brown case is expected to reconvene at some point today after failing to make a decision on whether or not to indict Wilson by the end of the day on Friday.

Speculation was rampant that the decision would be announced at some point on Sunday, especially after barricades went up all around the St. Louis County Police Department and courthouse buildings, and the street in front of the Buzz Westfall Justice Center was completely blocked off. But various reports, including an email from Downtown STL Inc., surfaced throughout the afternoon Saturday that said different.

"There will not be an announcement this weekend as previously expected. Jurors will reconvene to deliberate on Monday. We do not know when they might reach a decision or when that decision might be made public," the email reads.

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Daily RFT was unable to reach St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch's spokesman over the weekend. We will update once we know more about today's grand jury activity.

Meanwhile, the Post-Dispatch published an article on Sunday with the following passage:

If there is an indictment, only that document will be revealed. But if there is not, McCulloch has said he will take the rare step of obtaining a court order to reveal virtually all the evidence that was considered. Judge Carolyn Whittington has agreed to grant the request, said Paul Fox, the court administrator.

McCulloch has made it clear in many interviews that if Wilson is not indicted, the all of the documents, transcripts and evidence will be made public. Last week, his office sent out usernames and passwords for a site that will allow reporters to download "transcripts" "in the event" they are released.

However, hours after the Post-Dispatch's story went live, Paul Fox, director of administration for the St. Louis County Circuit Court, issued a statement saying there is no such agreement from Judge Whittington and that he was misquoted in the piece:

If the Grand Jury returns a no true bill, the Judge anticipates the Court will receive requests for the Grand Jury records. Some of those requests will require the Court to analyze the need for maintaining secrecy of the records with the need for public disclosure of the records.

The Court had done no such analysis. In order to analyze the need for maintaining secrecy, the Court will need information it does not have. It does not know the names of the witnesses who have testified before the Grand Jury and it has not heard the testimony or read transcripts of testimony. The Court has not seen documents or material presented to the Grand Jury.

The Court awaits the decision of the Grand Jury. The Court will thereafter be guided by the law in its response to requests for Grand Jury records.

The quote attributed to me in the Post-Dispatch this morning is not accurate.

While release of the records was previously regarded as a given, there's now doubt as to whether all (or any) grand jury documents will be given to the public.

We will update this post once we learn more about today's grand-jury proceedings, and release of the records. In the meantime, Louis Head, Brown's stepfather, released a statement to Daily RFT via text message, asking once again that no matter what the decision is, that demonstrations remain peaceful.

My wife and I want peaceful protest. If you are supporters of Michael Brown, you will have faith, and know justice will prevail. Stay strong, resist ignorance, and do not let officials provoke you to step outside of your character and create the chaotic atmosphere they expect of the people. Education and resilience is the key to progress for the change everyone dreams about. Don't just chant the war cry of the march. Put those thoughts of change and democracy into action and create a future that could change the world. When you have faith there is nothing that can deter you from you destination. The constitution was written by the people, for the people, animals are not people. Animals cannot read. Acting like an animal will not solve the problems of people. Have faith, respect yourselves and move with the power of righteousness and watch how the powers that be answer the questions could your thoughts. God bless.

Email the author at Jessica.Lussenhop@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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