Darren Wilson’s Grand Jurors Were Told To Base Decision On Law Ruled Unconstitutional In 1985 (VIDEO)

On Wednesday’s Last Word, Lawrence O’Donnell highlighted a chilling fact about the Ferguson grand jury proceedings:

“With prosecutors like this, Darren Wilson never really needed a defense lawyer.”

O’Donnell found a glaring problem with instructions the grand jury was given directly before Officer Darren Wilson testified. Jurors were instructed to base their decisions on an outdated law that was ruled unconstitutional decades ago.

“I’m going to pass out to you all, you are all going to receive a copy of a statute, It is section 563.046, and it is, it says law enforcement officers use of force in making an arrest, And it is the law on what is permissible, what force is permissible and when in making an arrest by a police officer,” Assistant District Attorney Kathy Alizadeh told jurors as she handed them a copy of a 1979 Missouri law that, O’Donnell points out, was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1985 before Alizadeh’s legal career began and before Officer Wilson was even born. O’Donnell went on to say:

“But it was helpful to officer Darren Wilson that the Assistant District Attorney handed the jury an old, unconstitutional law which said incorrectly that it is legal to shoot fleeing suspects simply because they are fleeing. By handing the Grand Jury that unconstitutional Law the Assistant District Attorney dramatically lowered the standard by which Darren Wilson could be judged.”

“She was telling the Grand Jury with that document that Darren Wilson had the Right, the legal Right to shoot and kill Michael Brown as soon as Michael Brown started running away from him,”  “She was telling the grand jury that Darren Wilson didn’t have to feel his life threatened at all by Michael Brown. She was taking the hurdle that Darren Wilson had to get over in his testimony and flattening it. She was making it impossible for Darren Wilson to fail in front of this grand jury.”

The portion of the law that was ruled unconstitutional says that an officer is “justified in the use of such physical force as he or she reasonably believes is immediately necessary to effect the arrest or to prevent the escape from custody.”



“That was ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in 1985. It was legal to shoot and kill fleeing suspects in most states until the Supreme Court made it illegal in 1985 — and everyone in law enforcement knows that. Everyone except the two assistant district attorneys who were presenting the evidence in one of the most important cases of police use of deadly force in this country since 1985.”

“There is nothing more helpful the Assistant District Attorney could have done for Officer Darren Wilson right before his testimony than show that incorrect, outdated, unconstitutional law to the grand jury,” he said, noting that jurors heard Wilson speak with the belief that everything he did was legal the moment Brown’s feet began moving. O’Donnell continued:

“The District Attorney’s office allowed the grand jurors to travel back in time to the good old days of American law enforcement when the cops could shoot people for running away. Before Darren Wilson was born, that’s how far back in time they went. The assistant district attorneys did that by using the old, unconstitutional law as the window through which the grand jurors would evaluate Wilson’s conduct.”

Some will defend this devastatingly ignorant “mistake,” but O’Donnell pointed out that no correction was issued just as the jury was to consider what charges. if any, they would vote for. It was only then that jurors were told the actual law in a manner that seems designed only to further deceive them.

More than two months after jurors were told to take a trip back to 1984 when an officer could execute a teenager in the street simply for fleeing, Alizadeh told jurors that the majority of their considerations were based upon a lie. She told jurors:

“Previously in the very beginning of this process I printed out a statute for you that was, the statute in Missouri for the use of force to effect an arrest. So if you all want to get those out.  What we have discovered and we have been going along with this, doing our research, is that the statute in the state of Missouri does not comply with the case law.”

“And so the statute for the use of force to affect an arrest in the state of Missouri does not comply with Missouri supreme, I’m sorry, United States supreme court cases,” Alizadeh added. “So the statue I gave you, if you want to fold that in half just so that you know don’t necessarily rely on that because there is a portion of that that doesn’t comply with the law.”

The assistant district attorney then handed jurors something from this century. Alizadeh said:

“That does correctly state what the law is on when an officer can use force and when he can use Deadly Force in affecting an arrest, okay. I don’t want you to get confused and don’t rely on that copy or that print-out of the statute that I’ve given you a long time ago. It is not entirely incorrect or inaccurate, but there is something in it that’s not correct, ignore it totally.”

When one juror asked if “federal court overrides Missouri statutes,” O’Donnell says that she ignored a simple, clear, one-word answer, “yes.”

“That is why we no longer have segregated schools in this country. The Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional and illegal to have segregated schools,” he said. “And that is the only reason states like Mississippi and Alabama and Arkansas and, yes, Missouri, no longer have segregated schools.”

O’Donnell explained that Alizadeh “couldn’t bring herself” to say yes. “Instead,” he told his audience, “she actually said ‘Just don’t worry about that.'” Assistant prosecutor Whirley added that, “We don’t want to get into a law class.”

O’Donnell went on to say:

“But that is not the worst, most unprofessional aspect of ADA Kathy Alizadeh’s presentation to the Grand Jury about this law. The very worst part of it is that she never, ever explained to the Grand Jury what was incorrect about the unconstitutional statute that she had given them and left with them as one of their official papers for weeks and weeks and weeks.”

 “You will not find another legal proceeding in which jurors and Grand jurors are simply handed a law, and then weeks later handed a correction to that law; and then the Grand jurors are simply left to figure out the difference in the laws by themselves. That is actually something you would do in a law class,” O’Donnell said. “Figure it out by yourself.”

Watch the segment, below:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVzcrSzirrs?rel=0&showinfo=0&w=640&h=360]