A member of the Ferguson grand jury that failed to bring criminal charges against former police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown is suing St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch for the right to talk about the experience of serving on the grand jury.
Identified in court documents as Grand Juror Doe, Doe is wishing to speak about the evidence presented and the public misconceptions surrounding the case in an effort to contribute to the current dialogue about race relations. Doe is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, while McCulloch is named as a defendant in the case.
“The Supreme Court has said that grand jury secrecy must be weighed against the juror’s First Amendment rights on a case-by-case basis,” says Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri. “The rules of secrecy must yield because this is a highly unusual circumstance. The First Amendment prevents the state from imposing a life-time gag order in cases where the prosecuting attorney has purported to be transparent.”
The suit, which was filed in federal court Monday, January 5th, says that the plaintiff believes “the current information available about the grand jurors’ views are not entirely accurate — especially the implication that all grand jurors believed that there was no support for any charges.” The plaintiff also argues in the suit that being granted the legal right to speak about the grand jury experience can be a push to “advocate for legislative change to the way grand juries are conducted in Missouri.”
To learn more about the lawsuit involving Grand Juror Doe v. Robert P. McCulloch, head to the ALCU of Missouri website.