Dusty Rhoades’ column in the Dec 7 Pilot disturbed me. To say that the prosecutor in the Ferguson case “threw” the case or deliberately lost it for the state involves a level of cynicism that is difficult to take.
Certainly, the prosecutor could have gotten an indictment if he “wanted” to. And just as certainly, there were political pressures for him to do just that. But Mr. Wilson is not a ham sandwich, of popular grand jury lore.
Imagine for just a minute, even if you are as arrogant as Mr. Rhoades and are able to reach conclusions based on a superficial view of the evidence from newspapers and TV reports, that the prosecutor who did see all the evidence had a good-faith belief that the actions of Darren Wilson may have been justified.
A prosecutor represents the state in an adversarial system, but he is not a pure advocate and must believe that the evidence on review supports a criminal conviction. Can you imagine a prosecutor asking a jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that someone is guilty of a criminal offense when the prosecutor himself has significant doubts?
But, understanding correctly the highly charged nature of this case, rather than deciding himself to not proceed further against Wilson, which prosecutors do all the time, he presented the case to a grand jury as a check on the use of his discretion.
Yes, doing so and presenting evidence on both sides was highly unusual. But viewed in this way, the prosecutor was hardly giving Wilson a “break,” and just maybe was trying to do justice in the best way he could.
I acknowledge that I don’t know where the truth lies, but I respect the process and don’t share the view that “justice” requires a particular result here.
William Muller, Pinehurst