Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Mike Brown: The Struggle for Justice Is Not Over

As noted on the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund ("LDF") website:

On Monday, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) submitted a letter to Judge Maura McShane, the Presiding Judge of the 21st Judicial Circuit in Missouri, requesting that the court conduct an appropriate and thorough investigation of the grand jury proceedings that resulted in the non-indictment of former Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson. The letter has been endorsed by LDF'S local partners the Mound City Bar Association and the Ferguson Legal Defense Committee. The transcripts of the grand jury proceedings reveal questionable prosecutorial tactics that compromised the integrity of the proceedings. As a result, LDF has asked the court to restore public confidence in the St. Louis County justice system by conducting an investigation, and taking appropriate steps, including convening a new grand jury or appointing a special prosecutor pursuant to Missouri law.

For the past several weeks, LDF has worked in concert with lawyers and legal experts from Missouri and across the country to read and analyze the grand jury transcripts. “Our review of these proceedings has raised grave legal concerns, including knowing presentation of false witness testimony, erroneous instructions on the law, and preferential treatment of Mr. Wilson by the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. [Emphasis added] These and other issues raise questions about the integrity of the process and the lawfulness of the prosecutors’ conduct. This process sets a bad precedent for our judicial system and diminishes the high standard that stewards of the law are supposed to uphold,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF’s President and Director-Counsel.
Read the letter here.

Our struggle is multifaceted and multidimensional. Like pieces on a chess board, organizations and individuals have varying and diverse roles in the social justice movement. Some will march and rally. Some will engage in acts of civil disobedience. Some will lobby the politicians. Some will blog, tweet, and write. Instead of taking to the streets, some will put on their business attire and wage war in America's courthouses. Sometimes, a letter from distinguished counsel can have a tremendous impact.

LDF's letter may be the glimmer of hope that we have been waiting for. One thing is certain. The struggle for justice is far from over. We will not rest until there is justice for Mike Brown and everybody else.

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