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The questions no one asked St. Louis prosecutor Bob McCulloch

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View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H2 11/28/14

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Reprinted from Mark Sumner

From Robert McCulloch
Robert McCulloch
(image by YouTube)

Following his long public hand washing and cheerful mocking of witnesses, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch stood by for a few minutes of questioning. It was a frustratingly brief exchange, during which McCulloch was three times asked the one question that McCulloch had already said he could not answer: what was the actual vote count on the charges before the grand jury.

Thank you, "professional reporters" for wasting this unique opportunity to clear up a few matters.

But there are a few things they could have asked McCulloch. Things that needed to be said in front of a national audience, which you can read below the fold.

First, instead of asking McCulloch the vote breakdown, they might have asked him this:

Question: How many charges was the jury asked to consider, and how many would have needed to vote against any charge to keep it from becoming a "true bill" of indictment?

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Answer: Infinite, and four

McCulloch gave the jury no instruction on what charges they should consider. Many sources have said that the jury could have considered first degree murder, second degree murder or various levels of manslaughter. True enough. They might have also considered illegal discharge of a firearm. Or assault. Or more or less anything.

On any charge considered, it would have taken nine votes to bring an indictment. We've been given the racial breakdown of the jury, which certainly suggests one answer to "how did they come to this conclusion," but it's what we'll never be told that's the real clue. With nine white jurors, it's easy to imagine that Wilson might have been protected by a handful of jurors who held onto a racist view of events. However, because of the way things were presented to the jury, confusion on any particular vote may have been generated by people pulling for a greater charge. We can't know, because the exact votes on any charge will never be released. And it's clear that, despite McCulloch's smirking protests about being "fair" this process was anything but normal.

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