In Search of the Happiness Max

17percenttheory:

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Tomorrow, a grand jury will begin hearing evidence in the investigation of Michael Brown’s shooting. The proceeding will ultimately determine whether Officer Darren Wilson — who, according to one autopsy report, shot Brown six times, including two shots to the head — will face criminal charges.

A grand jury is unlike a regular jury. Here’s how it works and what we might expect when this one convenes on Wednesday.

What does a grand jury do?

THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO THE STORY. BUT THE GRAND JURY ONLY HAS TO SIDE IF THERES ONE SIDE TO THE STORY.’

A regular jury must decide innocence or guilt, which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. A grand jury has a different and less definitive role. “The main difference is that it is a lower standard. In a jury, you have to find that the person did the crime beyond a reasonable doubt,” lawyer Collin Schwartz told The Wire. ”In a grand jury, the defendant has no right to confront witnesses and it is only by preponderance of evidence, which is a lower threshold than reasonable doubt. It means more likely than not; much much lower than beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Attorney Randy Kessler elaborated, “They don’t decide guilt or innocence, they decide the probable cause to move forward. The defense doesn’t have the right to cross examine the other side. There are two sides to the story. But the grand jury only has to side if there’s one side to the story.”

Who is on a grand jury?

The members of a grand jury have been selected by a judge, rather than by attorneys. This is part of why the process has moves more quickly, as a traditional jury selection process takes a great deal of time because lawyers can ask many questions of jurors, and strike some from the pool for any reason. 

This means that all members of this grand jury have likely heard of the case and its details. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Kessler explains,” The jury process is impossible. But a little known secret is that you don’t want jurors who haven’t heard about it, you want jurors who are sympathetic. So you want someone who has heard about it. But you don’t want anyone who has heard a negative conclusion. It’s okay to have people that have heard about it, but not been prejudiced by it.”  

How did this get planned so quickly? 

Because the judge selected the jury, it is a much faster process. However, faster doesn’t always mean better in a case of this sort. The prosecution has not had much time to build a complete investigation. For example, only two out of three autopsy results have come back. 

Jens David Ohlin, a professor of law at Cornell Law School, told The Wire that ”Ideally, you have the police conduct a very exhaustive and deliberate investigation. Then after the files have been completely assembled, it is presented to the prosecutors who bring it before a grand jury, who decides if someone should be indicted. That is the usual and recommended course of events. You get the complete picture of the investigation and events before you get the grand jury case.” Kessler agreed that the process was moving shockingly quickly. “If I were the prosecutor, I would want to wait till I have all the information,” he said. 

Why are we going to a grand jury at all? 

The prosecutor does not have to go to a grand jury at all. In some cases, they can charge a suspect directly rather than wait for the input of a grand jury. However, going to a grand jury offers a major advantage to the investigation process: the prosecutor can subpoena witnesses. 

"You want a political cover for a decision not to prosecute someone, it is a lot easier to say a grand jury looked at the case."

Ohlin also noted another motive for grand juries: it takes the pressure off the prosecution. ”The fact that the prosecutor is empaneling a grand jury doesn’t mean that he wants to charge the individual. It just may mean he wants the grand jury to decide if the person should be prosecuted. Say you don’t want the person to be prosecuted, and you think it is a borderline case, and you want a political cover for a decision not to prosecute someone, it is a lot easier to say a grand jury looked at the case. Rather than say ‘I decided on my own to say there is no criminal case here.’ In a borderline case, a prosecutor might empanel a case when they think the jury won’t issue an indictment. I think that could be the situation here.” 

Who is going to be in the court room?

"In general, for a grand jury, the prosecutor is in the grand jury room with the jurors. They are taking the jurors through the presentation," explained Ohlin, "Neither the defendant nor the defense attorney are in the grand jury room at all. They don’t have a right to be there." The prosecution could also bring in witnesses who were subpoenaed. The proceedings and details of the case are secret and sealed to the defense and the public. The defense attorney will likely be present, however, he will not be in the room while the investigation is presented. 

Is Darren Wilson going to be there? 

There is a possibility Darren Wilson will be in attendance at tomorrow’s indictment. Wilson has the opportunity to testify and he cannot be cross examined. However, lawyers are not present during questioning (though the witness can ask to leave the room to confer with them) and anything he says can be presented at a trial.

"I would think he would testify in a case like this," speculated Ohlin, "The only downside of testifying is if you think the grand jury is going to indict anyway. Testifying before the grand jury opens up the possibility that the prosecution could express any discrepancies between the grand jury and the trial. I would think his lawyer is urging him to get before the grand jury to tell a compelling story and hope the grand jury will refuse to return an indictment.”

Kessler also believes a “compelling story” could sway grand jurors. He points out, “You also get some sympathy by being there. It is hard to indict someone you like.” 

While Wilson is not legally obligated to be in court or testify, Schwartz believes he will still attend as a presence without taking the stand. “If I’m this guy, I’m not going in. I don’t know who is going to be on the jury. The defendant will be in court but he doesn’t have to take the stand.” 

What is Darren Wilson going to be charged with? 

If he is charged, he could be charged with either murder, manslaughter, or second degree murder. Murder implies intentional killing and Ohlin notes that in that case, the “self defense argument doesn’t work.” Manslaughter and second degree murder are lesser charges, “based on the theory the defendant was reckless.” 

What happens next? 

If he is indicted, the case will move to a trial. Even if the trial goes in Wilson’s favor, Ohlin tells us “there is always the possibility of a federal criminal prosecution.” If Wilson is not indicted, the case “could still move forward… But it gives you more grounds for appeal,” said Kessler

Source: Polly Mosendz for The Wire

Emphasis mine on paragraph discussing the use of grand jury for political cover. 

Deconstructing Masculinity & Manhood with Michael Kimmel @ Dartmouth College

I think I’ve reblogged this, or another version of this before, but I will again. The number of men I know who think they are progressive and even think they are aware of their privilege, but are still utterly ignorant of great swathes of it.

I’m sure that is true of me also in all the ways that I have privilege. And remember, remember, remember, remember: the fact that you are underprivileged in some ways - even many ways - doesn’t mean you have no privilege at all. I am a woman and poor and mentally ill and physically ill. But I’m still white, I still had a middle-class upbringing, I have still had access to education to the highest level - no matter how hard one, I have privilege in that that some cannot dream of.

You’re privileged. Get used to it. Listen when you are called out, and, more importantly, listen when the privileged group to which you belong is called out as a whole. It’s easy to sit back and think ‘Well, those are the ignorant dicks in my group - I am not like them’.

You’d be surprised by how many ways you are.

I see people saying “How can this happen? Isn’t this America?”

17percenttheory:

aboutwhitewomen:

celluloidsheep:

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Well, yes. This IS America.

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(US Army attacks homeless veterans protesting in Washington, DC in 1932)

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1960s Birmingham, Alabama

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1970 attack on unarmed student protesters at Kent State University

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Police action at peaceful UC Davis Occupy protest 

Let’s not pretend like the police actions taken this week are anything new. It’s just the most recent manifestation of a problem America has had for a very long time.

America, and many other countries

Well past time to put down the American Exceptionalism pipe.

17percenttheory:

rainnecassidy:

istudypirates:

ediyank:

ringasunn:

highlights

Are you fucking kidding? People are completely disgusting. And I’m sure Mark is glad to be rid of these idiots.  EWWWWW.

This is disgusting…

The idiocy makes my head hurt.  Also, why do people think that YOU JUST LOST A FAN FOREVER matters to someone of that caliber forever.  trust me, he’s got LEGIONS of us, he ain’t gonna notice y’all.

…wow.

Pssst…former Mark Ruffalo fans, your racism is showing. That expectation of due process and presumption of innocence that you’re demanding for Mike Brown’s killer? All that was denied to Mike Brown himself. And you’re okay with that. Summary execution based on suspicion is not in a cop’s job description. A cop’s job is to execute the law, not to execute the people to whom the law applies. Fuckwits.

It’s worth having this as a reminder that a lot of people are not seeing the news we are seeing or reading it the way we are. I dearly hope justice will come out. But there’s a very good chance it won’t.

Also: Mark Ruffalo, confirmed as a stand up dude.

shortformblog:

chrisgeidner:

Expect Many, Many Lawsuits From Ferguson
WASHINGTON — It’s been nine days since Michael Brown was shot, unarmed, in the middle of a street in Ferguson, Missouri, but civil rights and civil liberties legal advocates say the legal fallout from the shooting and its tumultuous aftermath are just beginning.  
“There will be lawsuits up the kazoo,” said Barbara Arnwine, the longtime president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in an interview Sunday evening. “I think you’re going to see ripple after ripple of legal matters here in response to this outrageous situation.”

The cluster-you-know-what won’t be going away anytime soon.


There better be.

shortformblog:

chrisgeidner:

Expect Many, Many Lawsuits From Ferguson

WASHINGTON — It’s been nine days since Michael Brown was shot, unarmed, in the middle of a street in Ferguson, Missouri, but civil rights and civil liberties legal advocates say the legal fallout from the shooting and its tumultuous aftermath are just beginning.  

“There will be lawsuits up the kazoo,” said Barbara Arnwine, the longtime president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in an interview Sunday evening. “I think you’re going to see ripple after ripple of legal matters here in response to this outrageous situation.”

The cluster-you-know-what won’t be going away anytime soon.

There better be.

Ferguson from my TL- August 18 (2/3)

thewilsonblog:

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Ways you can help:

https://twitter.com/SheSeauxSaditty

http://afro-dykey.tumblr.com/post/95096989345/things-you-can-do-for-ferguson

https://www.change.org/p/president-barack-obama-please-enact-new-federal-laws-to-protect-citizens-from-police-violence-and-misconduct

Each morning brings a new depth to human sadness.

And I am aware that stuff like this happens all over the world and we just ignore it because we don’t think of it as ‘us’.

My heart goes out to all the wonderful people who continue to resist this.

idinamenzelphaba:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer + Text Posts

New favourite one of these.

geejayeff:

postracialcomments:

Anarchists appear again in the crowd

cognitivedissonance:

Ferguson, Mo. at 1:05 AM CDT, August 20.

chauvinistsushi:

scottmcrogers:

yooooo! thats the girl who brought the milk! Look!


ABSOLUTELY SOULLESS


No words.

chauvinistsushi:

scottmcrogers:

yooooo! thats the girl who brought the milk! Look!

ABSOLUTELY SOULLESS

No words.