Grand Jury Documents: State v. Wilson

Transcripts of the grand jury proceedings that followed the shooting death of Michael Brown on August 9, 2015, by Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson are available online from CNN. The grand jury was convened beginning August 20, 2014, at the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in Clayton, Missouri. There are twenty-four volumes of transcripts of the grand jury proceedings, as well as witness interviews, additional materials presented in evidence, and photographs of Officer Wilson available on the website.

The grand jury proceedings have been controversial. Generally, such proceedings are secret, and it is rare for a prosecutor to release the grand jury transcripts and evidence to the public. It was also unusual for Officer Wilson to testify for several hours before the grand jury, since as a general rule a suspect under investigation by the grand jury is not considered to have a right to testify or to have exculpatory evidence presented. As Justice Scalia stated in United States v. Williams, 504 U.S. 36, 37 (1992):

[R]equiring the prosecutor to present exculpatory as well as inculpatory evidence would alter the grand jury’s      historical role, transforming it from an accusatory body that sits to assess whether there is adequate basis for bringing a criminal charge into an adjudicatory body that sits to determine guilt or innocence. . .[I]t has always been thought sufficient for the grand jury to hear only the prosecutor’s side, and, consequently that the suspect has no right to present, and the grand jury no obligation to consider, exculpatory evidence. . . .

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