Subornation of perjury

I thought I was done with posting on events in Missouri.  Seriously.  Then, the St Louis Prosecutor Bob McCulloch decided to do a radio interview with radio station KTRS.  In this interview on The McGraw Show, McCulloch pretty much admitted to suborning perjury.  It seems that I’m not the only one that has a question about that either.

For a little background information, subornation of perjury is a federal offense.  According to 18 U.S. Code § 1622, “Whoever procures another to commit any perjury is guilty of subornation of perjury, and shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”  From WikipediaIn American law and in Scots law the subornation of perjury is the crime of persuading a person to commit perjury — the swearing of a false oath to tell the truth in a legal proceeding, be it spoken or written. The term subornation of perjury further describes the circumstance wherein an attorney at law causes a client to lie under oath, or allows another party to lie under oath.[1][2]

Here’s a snippet of the interview conducted (h/t Buzzfeed) *emphasis theirs:

KTRS: Why did you allow people to testify in front of the grand jury in which you knew their information was either flat-out wrong, or flat-out lying, or just weren’t telling the truth?

McCulloch: Well, early on, I decided that anyone who claimed to have witnessed anything was going to be presented to the grand jury.

And I knew that no matter how I handled it, there would be criticism of it. So if I didn’t put those witnesses on, then we’d be discussing now why I didn’t put those witnesses on. Even though their statements were not accurate.

So my determination was to put everybody on and let the grand jurors assess their credibility, which they did. This grand jury poured their hearts and souls into this. It was a very emotional few months for them. It took a lot of them.

I wanted to put everything on there.

I thought it was much more important to present everything and everybody, and some that, yes, clearly were not telling the truth. No question about it.

Based upon his own statement there, he committed subornation of perjury by allowing the witnesses to lie under oath.  Furthermore, the assistant prosecutors themselves may have broken the same law by giving the jurors misleading instruction on the application of force.

Before Wilson testified to the grand jury on September 16, prosecutors gave grand jurors an outdated statute that said police officers can shoot a suspect that’s simply fleeing. This statute was deemed unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in 1985; the court ruled that a fleeing suspect must, at least in a police officer’s reasonable view, pose a dangerous threat to someone or have committed a violent felony to justify a shooting.

Prosecutors, who had full control of the evidence presented to the grand jury, took more than two months to correct their mistake, O’Donnell said. The prosecutors on November 21 — just three days before the grand jury reached a decision — gave the correct standards to the grand jury. But as O’Donnell explained, the prosecutors didn’t specify what exactly was wrong with the outdated statute — and they didn’t even clearly say, after they were asked, to the grand jurors that Supreme Court rulings do indeed override Missouri law.–Vox.com

McCulloch is on tape admitting such, and I don’t see how he could weasel his way out of his own words.  That said, I doubt anything will come of this, and I would be surprised if he faces any consequences for his actions.  That’s including him saying that he wasn’t going to pursue charges of perjury against anyone, including now infamous Witness #40.

Had he recused himself as many asked him to do, this wouldn’t be an issue at all.  There’s no way to say the outcome would have been any different, but we would not have another controversy to discuss at this point.  All along, many have raised the issue of mistrust in the justice system.  Revelations, such as the one given during this interview, don’t heap assuage those feelings one bit.

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4 thoughts on “Subornation of perjury

  1. IMO your whole argument about subordination of perjury is weak. The DoJ will determine such one would think. The fact here is that no matter what color you are, if you attack a man with a gun, especially one licensed to kill, you initiated the proximate cause of the environment giving rise to the shooting. If case law exists supporting your position, so be it. If this kid had been white, I don’t see any different outcome. Regardless of the recklessness of this guy, that kid caused his own demise. Perhaps you also feel this incident has nothing to do with race as well.

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    • Why is it weak when the guy admitted to doing that in his own words? He’s the one that said he knew people were not telling the truth, yet he put them on the stand anyway. No matter how you or I twist it, he broke the law.

      As for the kid being White and all that other stuff, I don’t think it matters. What concerns me is getting to the truth. When the officer made a report to the first sergeant that showed up and the sergeant’s testimony to the grand jury does not match what Wilson testified to, that is a bit concerning.

      I don’t know how their reporting standards are, but if it were me reporting to my supervisor, when we testify, our stories should almost mirror each other. If we’re both telling the truth, he should be able to testify as to what I told him in my initial report, and my testimony should be the same thing. In Wilson’s case, they were not.

      http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1370494-grand-jury-volume-5.html

      Starting on page 52, Wilson’s supervisor testifies that Wilson told him that he didn’t know abut the robbery call at the market when the shooting happened. Over several pages, you’ll see different people ask him about this, and his answers are the same. Wilson stated that he didn’t know about the robbery. However, when Wilson testified, he said that he recognized the two matched the description of the robbery and he backed his vehicle up to stop them, or something to that effect.

      One of those two is not telling the truth. If a police officer can not be trusted to tell the truth under oath, then we’re all in trouble. When one cop does wrong, it negatively affects everyone else around him. Only one of the two would have a motive to not tell the truth, and it’s not the supervisor.

      If Wilson isn’t telling the truth about something as minor as knowing about the robbery call, what else is he not telling the truth about in his testimony? I’ve known bad officers and have even worked around some. People want to believe that officers always tell the truth, but that only happens in fairy tales.

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  2. McCulloch said from the first that he wasn’t going to prosecute Wilson, and he meant it. So he turned the case over to the grand jury and then buried them under a ton of BS they had to dig through to find any nuggets of truth. He got the result he intended to get.

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    • In my view, McCulloch should have never took the case to a grand jury.

      #1 His background would lead some to believe that he wouldn’t be impartial or seek the truth.

      #2 The investigation wasn’t even complete when the grand jury proceedings began.

      and most importantly

      #3 The Ferguson PD or St Louis County PD never released any report suggesting they had done a use of force inquiry to determine whether he used excessive force or not. If the force is justified, you cannot charge the officer with any crime.

      McCulloch pretty much made a mockery of the judicial system, and this type of stuff is one reason why many in that community have very little trust in the system.

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