13 Sep 2014 Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper Calls Out Washington Post Columnist for Attacks on St. Louis County Grand Jury
Cooper Says the Grand Jury Process Plays a Critical Role in the American Legal System
Washington, D.C. – In Friday’s Washington Post, columnist Dana Milbank claimed the St. Louis grand jury reviewing evidence in the Michael Brown shooting is perpetuating a “farce.”
“This yet again demonstrates just how far away the liberal media is from providing balanced news and analysis of the Michael Brown shooting,” Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper said. “The grand jury plays a critical role in the American legal system and shouldn’t be denigrated. It isn’t a rubber stamp for the prosecution and it shouldn’t be.”
“Mr. Milbank should do a little less lawyering and practice a lot more journalism. Giving the grand jury more discretion to review evidence isn’t a fix. It’s actually a good technique to ensure that the totality of the evidence is considered.”
Grand jurors often ask for additional information and are legally allowed to be independent of the state. Its operation, like the presumption of innocence, is one of the reasons the American legal system is considered superior, Cooper said.
“Repeating the stale claims that the elected prosecutor, a Democrat, will manipulate the grand jury or operates from personal bias isn’t legal analysis or even an effort at journalism. Instead it feeds the unsubstantiated belief that the Missouri legal system is unjust or unfair,” Cooper added.
“Asking a legal ethics professional about these claims would have at least put these complaints in context, although the result might not have been nearly as provocative as calling the St. Louis County grand jury a sham. Mocking a legal practice older than the Magna Carta does a disservice to justice and to Milbank’s readers,” explained Cooper, who taught constitutional law at George Mason University.
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