St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch appears to have gone out of his way to achieve justice, in his presentation of evidence to a grand jury to indict Officer Darren Wilson on the charge of the murder of Michael Brown. But only the appearance of justice has been done, and a new grand jury must be convened immediately with a different prosecutor presenting evidence.
Unfortunately, the appearance of justice may confuse many people, even many people sympathetic to the injustice against Michael Brown and many unarmed black men killed by police officers. For to any reasonable person, it would seem that there is a lack of evidence to convict Officer Darren Wilson of a crime. There are witnesses that corroborate and that contradict his own testimony and unfortunately, but in some sense necessarily, the balance of credibility will tend towards him.
But what McCulloch has done is to try Officer Wilson, by himself, presenting both evidences for and against the charge—and that is not what he was supposed to do.
In presentation to a grand jury, and not a trial jury, a prosecutor’s task is much more simple. That is, all the prosecutor has to do is present whatever evidence indicates there is probable cause to indict Officer Wilson. He not only is not required to present evidence that might prove the innocence of Officer Wilson, but in fact, given that his job is to prosecute the crime, it would be wholly prejudicial to do so. In this function Prosecutor McCulloch is assuming the job of a defense attorney in the midst of a trial that would only be possible after a grand jury has returned an indictment.
Thus, McCulloch has actually already done two things: first, he has proven that Officer Wilson must be indicted on the charge of murder of Michael Brown, because were Wilson not to be indicted there would be no reason to defend him before the fact; second, he has shown that despite the evident grounds to indict Officer Wilson, it is likely that, if the case went to trial (and nothing changed with all of the evidence that would be presented there), Wilson would be acquitted.