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The latest twist in the furious battle of Ferguson is an effort to get Michael Brown’s juvenile criminal records released. According to a report at, “The citizen journalism website GotNews took St. Louis County authorities to court Wednesday to secure the release of the records because it believes they do not need to be kept private since he is no longer alive.” The reason: speculation that Brown’s juvenile history would yield evidence that not only was he allegedly involved with the Crips street gang but “faced a second-degree murder charge” . . .

GotNews’ editor Charles Johnson claims he was told by cops that Brown’s juvy record indicates that perhaps he wasn’t the mild-mannered aspiring college student he has been portrayed to be by family and friends.

“To find out if those police officers are correct requires seeing Brown’s juvenile arrest record, which ought to be freely available given that he is dead and therefore has no right to privacy remaining,” insists Johnson.

“Knowing the truth about Brown’s past will help us gauge the credibility of his parents and family who have called him a ‘gentle giant.'”

Assuming there’s something there, look for Brown’s family to fight the suit, likely painting the effort as further attempts at “character assassination” as they did the release of the convenience store security footage. And then for Officer Darren Wilson’s attorneys to move for the records to be unsealed if Wilson is tried and Johnson’s efforts are unsuccessful.

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    • Great comment from Dillon Taylor’s uncle in Salt Lake City referring to unarmed Dillon Taylor getting shot by police.
      “Last night’s shooting was a tragic event for all the parties involved. My nephew was a troubled young man with a history of depression, alcohol abuse and run-ins with law enforcement,” he said. “Law enforcement has a difficult job, and it appears Dillon’s actions may have contributed to his death.

      “While I’m disturbed by the use of deadly force while other non-lethal tools are available to law enforcement, it’s difficult for anyone to judge the actions taken by police in a split-second, life-or-death situation. I hope everyone will withhold judgment about Dillon and the police officers’ actions until a full investigation is completed.”

    • has anyone mentioned Brown’s being high at the time, where are the blood tests, alcohol and/or drugs ?? or maybe Wilson’s DNA on Brown’s fists ???

    • Says you. Let the people decide what matters. If he was a gang member, then that would be its own stand alone fact that matters quite a bit.

      • How does it matter? Even if Wilson knew his history, a shoot is only justified by the circumstances happening at the time. Cope don’t get to just shoot prior offenders because they’re prior offenders.

        • It only matters in the court of public opinion to correct the narrative put forth by his family/friends (perpetuated without verification by the media) that he was a gentle giant.

        • It shows he could have had a propensity towards violence. It would matter to a jury in deciding if he (A) put his arms in the air and surrendered, or (B) charged the officer that shot him.

        • I understand the public opinion angle, but I have no sympathy for it. People’s opinions are rarely informed by reality, so their opinions usually default to “ME!” Frankly, no good is served by anyone digging up Brown’s past. It’ll only get Rush and Michele Malkin yowling and harden the battle lines. “Conservatives” (who should only be taking the side of justice) lose when Ann Coulter opens her yap and spikes the football. Whether he was a good kid or a “good kid” is inconsequential to this situation.

        • Ok folks; let’s hear the refrain again…

          “He was just turning his life around and the POlice kilt him.

          He was just starting college in a couple days…

          Gee…never heard that fantasy excuse of denial before.

          Brown got his college education on the streets; in fact one of his professors 22 y/o Dorian Johnson, can be seen instigating some instructional activity with Brown as Brown removes some cigars from a store case in one of the convenience store theft surveillance videos.

          That’s the same Dorian Johnson who proclaimed Brown was gunned down while meekly surrendering to officer Wilson.

          Hokum! BS! What a bunch of Malarkey.

          BTW, haven’t heard much more from or about that hoodlum Johnson lately…particularly from the Brown supporters camp.

          What’s up with that?!?!?!

        • People’s opinions are rarely informed by reality“..

          Well, that’s where a criminal record — or lack of one — would add a little reality to the situation rather than solely relying on people’s opinions that “he was such a good kid”, or just Wilson’s account of events.

          I’m not sure you’d feel the same way if it were reversed. Cop shoots unarmed man. It is suggested he has a history of unnecessarily escalating situations to the point of brutality or questionable shoots. But… he was never reprimanded and the department always cleared him of any charges. So… that doesn’t matter since he was cleared?

          Brown’s past record is an impartial way of getting a look into his character while alive and what actions he might have taken in the moments before his death. Neither Darren Wilson or Brown’s family are able to be impartial when it comes to describing him.

        • You seem to be assuming that people care about his past history because they think that history will directly justify the shoot. This is a bad assumption. This information is being used to determine the likelihood of the two conflicting scenarios (he was either surrendering peacefully or continuing to be aggressive). Past behavior absolutely matters when trying to determine what likely happened in a situation where there was no 100% proof.

        • If it’s a history of violence it goes to Brown’s propensity for violence and likely state of mind, particularly if he was in the middle of a ‘wilding’ crime spree with his buddy Johnson.

          In any case, it’s all conjecture until his Juvie Records are released, or not.

        • Then the officers past add presented in that huff. po. article doesn’t matter either. Or the past of both give some insight to the likelihood of their behavior in the absence of hard evidence.

        • PitBoxer, a cop’s history of excessive force is very relevant to any subsequent bad shoot. And yet, the cop is innocent of murder until the state proves otherwise. Just as we can’t assume Brown attacked Wilson, or if he did, that this is now a “good shoot.” Plus, if he has been cleared, that may point to a bigger problem of corruption.

          And Misnomer, I don’t think anything anyone says will change minds. People still think Zimmerman was a bloodthirsty racist — no purple drank is gonna change that.

        • Sorry, had a meeting, so I’m just now responding. Others have pretty much beat me to it and said it as well as I could, though. The deceased’s history speaks to the totality of the circumstances. You’re absolutely correct, you can’t shoot someone on the basis of what they may have done, or may only have been investigated for, in the past, even if the officer was aware of that history. That’s obvious.

          What’s at issue here is the relative credibility of the parties involved. We don’t have video of the shooting, which people would *still* dispute, even if we did have it, just as they dispute the two videos from the store. So for areas where hard facts are lacking, we have to determine whose story is more likely to have occurred, and people’s pasts are relevant to that. Witnesses of all types are examined in court every day with each side trying to establish or demolish witness credibility. It is credibility, which comes from competence, character, physical capabilities, and innumerable other factors, which gives vitality and value to testimony.

          As mentioned, maybe it’s admitted at trial, maybe not, but in the meantime it does help elucidate the personalities and propensities of the people involved, which can go a long way toward influencing how people think about the incident and how they react to it.

        • Violent people stay violent. It’s very relevant whether he was involved because it establishes a precedent under which it is plausible that he would assault an officer.

      • People, as in the public at large, should never decide anything. If that were the case, Wilson’s body would still be swinging from the St. Luis arch. Unfortunately these kinds of revelations only adds emotional strain on both sides of the argument. This information should only matter in a fair and open court setting, or maybe to the investigators, maybe. But the People? The ignorant masses, the emotional roller coasters of propaganda? No way…

        • I assume, of course, that YOU, in your total superiority, are not included in the sordid, odiferous masses that you decry, and are so far above them that YOU can differentiate what is right and what is wrong, unlike the huddled sheep so far below you.

          Arrogant elitist much?

        • No, John in Ak I cannot differentiate. Why not? Because I don’t know all the facts. And neither do all those rioting. But they still react to the slightest provocation regardless of fact. And since their mob mentality negates their ability to reason, it would seem otherwise they would stop, then they are by all accounts ignorant.

        • Let’s put it this way. I was served on a jury for an attempted murder trail….pray that you never have to be judged by your “peers” because your peers are morons. My friend, who is a county prosecutor, confirmed this. Prosecutors, and defense attorneys, actively profile for those who they think they can sway. They try to fill stupid people on the docket, which in retrospect now makes my selection feel like an insult….

        • john in AK, you are the one coming across with a superiority complex. So its ok to try people based on media reports?

        • So, where did you get THAT?! I merely object to the broad assumption that ALL people in a given set of people (residents of Ferguson, Black people in general, the average voter, the majority of citizens of the US) are too ignorant, stupid, bestial, or otherwise substandard that they cannot weigh facts and come to just conclusion–IF they are given all of the facts.

          The vociferous few in Ferguson and those who flocked to take advantage of it (the Sharptons, Holders, and Obamas, for example) do NOT make up the majority of the citizenry. Thank GOD!

      • Anyone can be arrested for a crime they didn’t commit, as long as they get a trial.
        Conviction and arrest are different.

    • IF Darren Wilson was known to have a violent history as a LEO, that would matter. Even if it didn’t matter, that would a major protester, rioter, and MSM focal point So,.. it DOES matter if Brown was prone to violence, if he was gang affiliated, and if he was convicted OR SUSPECTED of committing homicide as a minor.

      Once its out there, its out there, brah.

    • I’m with you, huge difference between being charged and being convicted. Even bigger difference between being accused and being convicted.

    • Yes, it does. It begs the questions about circumstances and outcome: Did the Gentle Giant have another life of gangbanging that involved him in a homicide, did he actively participate, was another crime the underlying reason for the charge, what actions did he take to GET charged, if any, and what was the nature of the case that lead to him not being convicted of anything, if in fact that is correct?

      The truth, in any situation, is a combination of ALL of the facts. In LAW, of course, it matters if one was convicted; In FACT-FINDING, it matters only what the FACTS are and not the decision of some juvenile-court judge, or appeals court judge, or panel of judges. If this person was not convicted, or ‘adjudicated as delinquent,’ because of some evidence-suppression issue but really DID do what he was accused of doing, it makes a VAST difference, conviction or no.

      OJ Simpson was found ‘not guilty’ by a jury purely along racial lines of jury nullification; The FACTS say that he is as guilty as guilty can ever be. By your reasoning, ol’ OJ is as pure as the driven snow and can come over and babysit your children, right? You’ll not embarrass him by locking up all of the sharp, pointy knives, will you?

      I thought not.

      • Yea none of that should matter. The only thing that matters were the events which transpired during the shooting (We are investigating the shooting right? This is the subject matter).

        Because if it can happen to a unknowing criminal – it can happen to an innocent.

        A trial that would arise out of these incidents should be focused on the incidents not the subjects popularity, credibility, past history, or community relations – on either side (Brown’s or Wilson’s).

      • OJ was found not guilty because there was a reasonable doubt; the prosecution failed to carry its burden of proof. Between the police misconduct of planting evidence and the absolute incompetence of the prosecutorial team, the little I saw of the trial was enough to persuade me, as a lawyer, that there was no question of what the jury decision was going to be–there was reasonable doubt all over the place. The testimony of the genetic expert was enough, but then Chris Darden (is that right? been awhile) managed to hammer it in over and over and over when he cross-examined the defense expert. It was absolutely ludicrous. The jury likely believed hat OJ was “probably” guilty, but that is not enough for a conviction, and the jury did it job–correctly.

        • Perhaps, but he was also likely found not guilty because the jury was all black and it was revenge over the Rodney King incident.

    • BS. Countering the “gentle giant” crap would move the discussion to what actually happened, as opposed to feeling ever so sorry for a murderous thieving punk. The cop told a story. It was countered by testimony about what a wonderful little angel he was, as opposed to anything like evidence. Let’s get back to facts, and deflating the halo being constructed around this punk is a start. This is so Trayvon it’s difficult to believe.

      • Don’t forget what his uncle said at the funeral. ‘Mike mike was going door to door spreading the word of jesus christ the day he was killed”

        The families story changes every other day. Its obvious they are liars.

      • Note also: while it is true that such information would be inadmissible in a criminal trial, unless Wilson had direct knowledge of Brown’s prior acts, as far as I understand, that information would be admissible to the currently seated Grand Jury, where the standards of admissibility of evidence are different. IANAL, and could be wrong, of course.

        And if the Grand Jury is deciding the preponderance of evidence (for determining if probable cause exists that Wilson committed a crime), and must decide from among various, conflicting witness accounts, information about Brown’s potential tendency toward violence would likely play a role in that decision.

    • The background matters if you are interested in getting a complete image of what led up to the incident. I would like to have a unbiased, unfiltered and, un-manipulated image of the character of the participants and family.

      In incidents of crime where there are victims that have been harmed the truth always matters. Many crimes are not solved and thus there is nobody convicted. Many times there is strong evidence but it is dismissed because of technical reasons. Through learning the truth we can learn to recognize the dangers and deal with them more intelligently. By suppressing the truth we lose the opportunity to become better than we are.

    • I agree 100%. “Convictions” are the only thing that counts here! People should know that…

  1. Correct… Innocent until proven guilty. But if it indicates he is… or shall I say…was in a violent gang… it adds some ammunition to the cops story vrs the families.

  2. If they fight the release of the records, then there is very likely damning evidence somewhere in there that speaks to character.

    • Boy, that’s the truth. No posthumous 5th amendment protection, if he’s an angel release the records.

  3. I guess this was before his “gentle giant” stage, perhaps during his “terrible twos” stage….

  4. Yikes…those evil white folks trying to get that poor dead GENTLE GIANT tm. &Scott-it does matter. BTW has anyone gone after big Mikes robbery buddy & “witness”?

    • Yeah, funny how Dorian Johnson just seemed to suddenly fall off the face of the Earth.

      Sitting in a jail cell on warrants?

      Someone ‘convinced’ him to shut up?

      Someone shut him up?

      He’s being conveniently ignored by the media b/c his by now obvious lies don’t help promote anti cop condemnation of Officer Wilson?

  5. Another question: do you think the people who have ignored all of the other evidence/reports on emotional claims will even bat an eye at this? It wont get any MSM coverage either I imagine, theyll treat this about like him having a library card.

    I still am not sure what happened to be honest, but I will listen to whatever “facts” are continuing to be presented to form my own opinion.

    • Yeah, Shannon Watts should get out of her protective bubble and spend some time in an abandoned house getting acquainted with some of those low-life’s and their friends…might change her perspective on armed self-defense, ‘specially for those folks who are condemned to having such scum step into their lives.

  6. It absolutely does matter. Reason being it shows he was prone to violence, giving even more credibility to officer Wilson’s version of events. We already know the main witness is a lying criminal and his parents are liars. If in fact this is true it further destroys the Browns case.

  7. It’s character assassination. Let that come out in court as part of an overall defense strategy, but bringing it out in the media serves no purpose. This is just another attempt to sensationalize news to drive traffic, and we shouldn’t be a part of it. If it was a good shoot, fine, if not, prosecute. What we need to be concerned about is the actions on both sides subsequent to the shooting, particularly those of the police.

    • ^ This.

      It doesn’t matter if Brown was an angel or a devil, and it doesn’t matter if Wilson was a bad cop or a good cop. What matters is the circumstances immediately preceding the shooting. This sort of story would have no bearing in a court of law as character evidence is not admissible with very limited exceptions.

      All a story like this does is stir the flames on both sides of the issue. I would rather see TTAG hold itself to a higher standard.

      • glad we have so many archair lawyers here, but let’s break this down:

        If the family/prosecution introduce the mild-mannered “gentle giant” story (and frankly, I wouldn’t given the convenience story video showing the strong arm robbery), then his record becomes relevant. If they don’t, harder to get it in. The same thing happened in the Trayvon Martin/George ZImmerman matter. Zimmerman’s lawyers won the right to introduce Martin’s drug usage/toxicology reports because the prosecution wanted to ask the parents about what a “great kid” he was. Surprisingly, the defense lawyers didn’t take advantage of it, but I digress.

        with all of this said, the grand jury may get to see this information since the normal rules of evidence do not apply in grand jury proceedings. STL Cty Prosecutor McCullough said he would release ALL evidence submitted to the GJ, so let’s see if this pops up

        • I agree with Platypus.

          Browns credibility will most certainly affect the case in court.
          Wilsons credibility will also most certainly affect the case in court.

          However, ideally they shouldn’t. Justice is a blindfold woman with a sword in one hand and a scale in the other.

          What should matter are the events that transpired. The credibility of Brown shouldn’t matter (or Wilson’s) at all (what if it was an innocent person, or anyone?). The focus should be the actions during the shooting – not the past events, popularity, or credibility of either side. The credibility of witnesses of course matters – but should not of the victim and the accused.

        • So evidence as to the character of either party, basically?

          As to anonymous, the facts about what actual happened are in dispute, there is no concrete evidence (mandatory chest and dash cams!), so we have to turn to character to help gauge the testimony presented. The only question is: “is there reasonable doubt that this was a murder?” If there is reasonable doubt then there shouldn’t be a conviction.

        • so we have to turn to character to help gauge the testimony presented

          If all we have as evidence is character credibility of the accused and the victim then there is no evidence at all and they should fall back on innocent until proven guilty.

          “Well… he looks like a bad guy – so he probably did it, or he came from a bad precinct” – is not fair justice. If I was a juror I would disregard any of that garbage. It is the prosecutions job to obtain the evidence. If there is no evidence then Wilson should be presumed innocent

    • If there turns out to be no character to assassinate, is it still ‘character assassination’?

    • You need to look up the definition of “Character Assassination” — facts are not character assassination. If the cop was found to have been part of a previous police brutality charge would that also be character assassination or facts? If the truth is “character assassination” then what are suggestions that this person was a innocent little angle who could “NEVER” do anything wrong?

      What happens in court is different than the court of public opinion. It is now political, the jury pool is damaged no matter what happens. Some people have picked a view of the event regardless of facts.

      In a perfect world we would ONLY care about the truth and getting to the truth of this specific event, today, politics and public opinion are > than truth. In the end, Brown could have been at fault, but the truth will no longer matter will it?. If the facts show he struck the cop, will it matter? Just like in the Zimmerman case, regardless of the facts, Trayvon Martin will be considered innocent and that he was tracked down like a wild dog.

      We should not worry about “facts” and “truth”, what you should be angry about is when lies are perpetuated.

      • I believe AG Holder was sent to make sure the character assassinating was done correctly this time.

  8. Everyone says he was a perfect angel until evidence of the thug life comes out. We have heard this story before.

  9. Someone’s past shouldn’t not be relevant each situation is a different situation…I use to fight in school a lot from being picked on, but I just try to avoid confrontation as much as possible now and I’m one of the nicest people you can meet now…I use to have an attitude and joined the Marines….the fact is people change….myself included so his past doesn’t matter..

    • That would have been a VERY quick change to go from robbing a store, beating the snot out of a cop, to peacefully surrendering and being an angel a few seconds later. Those 2 assaults are pretty much a given at this point, so if he did “change” from his previous trouble past, he had “changed” back at this point.

  10. His record would show a predisposition for violence and a disregard for life. I’ve seen expressions like the one he has in the graduation picture (think the faculty was glad to see him walk?) and it wasn’t on a happy person. Not a lot of Ho, Ho, Ho in that Gentile Giant. I think his school disciplinary record may be of some help, though teachers may have been reluctant to write him up.

  11. “…he is dead and therefore has no right to privacy remaining…”

    wait, really? not an attorney, and i guess even if a non-living person had any rights, theyre still unable to avail him/herself to the benefits of those rights. it just seems like a weird sentence to me. when we die, are our private lives then legally subject to public exposure?

    • I was thinking the same thing when I read that. Does that mean the contents of my email and bank records become public domain when I die?

      I think there are some things that the people involved with the case need to know, but that blanket statement is pretty ridiculous.

    • Kinda makes sense to me. When I die, anybody could get at my private records? OK. Now, why would anyone want to? It should take a lawyer about $1000 worth of effort to have all your records public. Then someone would do it in about 1 in a million cases. Like this one.

  12. Regardless of whether the officer’s choice to shoot was right or not, THIS info has nothing to do with it and is stupid. Dumb post TTAG. You guys really grind my gears.

    • With two directly conflicting stories, it will come down to which testimony to believe. Which makes this kind of stuff critical, whether you like it or not. Directly contradicts “gentle giant angel” BS, changes the face of the case.

    • The court will decide whether his prior record will be admitted. However, his family and the media are pushing the story of a ‘gentle giant’ being gunned down in cold blood by a racist cop, and that’s a subjective view not based on any evidence (that we know of). If Brown was violent and has a record, let’s make it public to counter his family’s glorified version of him. If there’s nothing there, they have nothing to worry about. But it looks like they are worried, because their son wasn’t such a saint after all. Seems more like Travon every day.

  13. While everyone is debating the philosophical implications of considering his past alleged crime, I continue to have zero concern about the death of a criminal that strong-armed robbed a store 10 mins before his death.

    Don’t you all see that the fact that this is even a story shows how profoundly racist certain groups have become against white people?

    Vaulting a black criminals death to a national tragedy level only because he was killed by a white officer. The same standard does not apply the other way around.

    Stop tolerating racism white vs black AND black vs white OR news media vs white!

    • While everyone is debating the philosophical implications of considering his past alleged crime, I continue to have zero concern about the death of a criminal that strong-armed robbed a store 10 mins before his death.

      You should. Because the officer in question did not know he robbed a convenience store just before the shooting. That fact remains.

      Action A events transpired to shoot a criminal so everything is acceptable.
      Action A events transpired to shoot a innocent person so it is not-acceptable.

      The acceptability of the action should depend on the action not the person’s credibility. Why? Because if it is OK to shoot a strong arm robber when the shooting officer didn’t know – then it is also OK to shoot innocent people when the action and events which transpired during the shooting are exactly the same.

      • “You should. Because the officer in question did not know he robbed a convenience store just before the shooting. That fact remains.”

        And the fact remains that there are 2 conflicting stories. One points to a justified shoot and one points to unjustified. The fact that he robbed the convenience store gives credence to the justified shoot theory for 2 reasons:

        1. It points to the fact that this was not a peaceful, innocent person, which means it is much more likely he did something nefarious when confronted by the officer.
        2. Brown knew that he had committed the crime, and therefore could assume he was about to be arrested for that crime. This gives him incentive to resist. He did not know the officer did not know. I have seen many cases where a simple traffic stop results in the officer getting shot because the person pulled over for a simple traffic violation had just committed a crime and thought he was being pulled over for that and about to go to jail.

        In short, no this info should not have affected the officer’s actions, but it WOULD have affected Brown’s actions, and therefore it is absolutely relevant.

      • Anonymous, I can live with that! So somebody now needs to unveil a suspicion of exactly why the incident occurred, then. Accomplice’s story “sweetness and light, wonderful, loved mommy, never did anything wrong, BAD police, BAD!” With no hint as to why that bad man shot that innocent child. Cop’s story “He attacked me without reason, beat me within an inch of my life, I fired in self-defense.” Accomplice is a proven criminal, and a proven liar in this case. Every part of the officer’s story is still possible, absolutely nothing has been disproved. He does not know why it happened, how could he answer your question? A 6’4″ muscular man attacked him and broke his face. He doesn’t know why, BUT HIS FACE IS BROKEN! Why is this case still under discussion, lacking new factoids?

      • Some reports indicate Wilson figured out that Brown was the suspect halfway through their encounter. We don’t know.

        We DO know that Brown knew what he did, and to think that didn’t alter the situation is silly.

  14. For an alleged Crips member, he sure wore a lot of red.

    Personally, I don’t buy the Baby Jesus Trayvon 2.0 Who Would Have Cured Cancer If Not For That Racist Cop narrative that’s getting ram-rodded into our consciousness by race-baiters and disingenuous white liberals, but the connection between Brown and the Crips is tenuous at best.

  15. Honestly, the hash up of Brown’s credibility does not matter at all unless the officer in question knew him – which he did not. The only thing that matters are the events which transpired during the shooting. Not the past history of the officer or victim/jaywalker, or the past history of the journalist reporting on the events or the history of a man eating ice cream nearby. The past history and credibility of the victim should not skew judgement towards what is judged to have transpired by the court.

    The following does not justify actions which transpired:
    -Michael Brown robbed a convenience store before the events that took place.
    -Michael Brown was a Crip or Crip wannabe.
    -Michael Brown is viewed as a criminal

    Nor do these:
    -Darren Wilson came from a corrupt precinct.
    -Darren Wilson had a clean record.
    -Darren Wilson received a commendation recently.

    • Yes, you are 1000% correct, but, we are dealing with the court of public opinion and for politics. Right now the politics matter more:

      For example
      In wake of Ferguson shooting, progressives demand federal police czar

      In the perfect world, only the truth would matter. But, racial agitators will not allow that to happen because their strength come from the agitation. Also, the media has WAY too much influence in many peoples lives. Because this, you have people who are trying to counter the arguments.

      Because someone is always trying to win a political victory, finding the truth is throw out the window.

    • True, those things don’t matter as long as you’ve got full video and audio footage from three different angles of what transpired. Until that is the case, other things have relevancy.

      Say there was a gun found on the ground near Brown. You could use your same argument to say it isn’t relevant because what if it just happened to be there beforehand?

    • Cop had served for 6 years. How many unarmed kids had he shot 6 times? None? Then WHY!! “For fun” is not a good answer. There is no possible narrative except that of the cop which fits the facts as we understand them.

    • After reading your post, I think your understanding may be accurate for what should happen. But for what is going to happen, it reads a little naively. The court of public opinion has already created many nights of rioting and looting; a federal intrusion into an ongoing investigation with 50 agents, a visit by Holder, and White House representation at Brown’s funeral; a list of questionable claims seeking to paint the police officer as a murdering racist, just to name a few. To somehow think that this has no bearing on how this investigation plays out and whether or not Officer Wilson and Michael Brown get justice for this shooting is misguided.

      I think this is all going to come down to who’s story is more credible and I think that Brown’s prior criminal history is germane to judging that.

  16. His past matters in a tie, it could be the tie breaker. If all else, EVERYTHING being equal for him and the cop, his past and the cops past should be the deciding matter (but probably won’t).

    If he was a gentle giant, then the cops in trouble. If the cop is clean and the gentle giant was involved with the Crips or a gang, that seems to me he’s the problem. If he was hood, then he wasn’t surrendering, he was charging. Done.

  17. Assume that the charges currently pending against Rick Perry are dismissed for lack of evidence.

    Further assume that five years from now, Rick Perry is charged with fraud in an entirely unrelated matter.

    Is it relevant to discuss the dismissed charge against Rick Perry because it shows that he is more likely to commit a crime?

    • Probably not in the courtroom during the second case.

      Everywhere else, sure… doesn’t mean it’s true, but we can discuss it.

  18. His juvie record is relevant. If he commited acts of violence whether as gang member or an individual then it makes Wilson’s defense much easier. It could even cause the Grand Jury not to indict Wilson.

    What I see the objectors on both sides doing is to try to keep the story focust on their particular hobby horse, racism for the race hustlers, and police militarization for Paulists. What this case is about is a criminal’s encouter with law enforcement. Those who are pushing other agendas need to be scorned and ignored.

  19. If this case were to be tried in a court of law, might have some sympathy with those saying it doesn’t matter – though it does go to “state of mind” – always an important element in any criminal trial. But it is being tried in the court of public opinion with all the usual suspects grinding merrily away on their chosen axes.

    Do you think Holder went to Furgeson to ensure a full and fair finding of the fact? Yeah, right. Just like he sent his “Special Prosecutor” to Sanford, FL AFTER the local PD had already cleared Zimmerman. Do you recall the local Police Chief resigned rather than participate in the railroading of Zimmerman? I watched most of the testimony at that trial on video. The prosecution witnesses were shredded on the witness stand. Zimmerman shot that stunning example of exemplary black youth as his head was being pounded repeatedly on a concrete sidewalk.

    They are setting Wilson up to be Zimmermaned. Do I know what happened in Furgeson? I do not. But name ONE thing Holder has been involved in that has been a fair and impartial finding of fact leading to justice being done. Waiting patiently…. That’s what I thought.

    Maybe if the “gentle giant” fairy tale is destroyed Wilson can get fairer treatment than Zimmerman received

    Zimmerman may or may not have done some questionable things since his trial. Imagine if the President and AG painted a target on your back after a DGU.. I might go a little crazy too.

    • name ONE thing Holder has been involved in that has been a fair and impartial finding of fact leading to justice being done. Waiting patiently…. Good luck with that!

  20. It’s sad that big Mike’s family is concerned about his future now that he’s dead. Maybe if that protective parenting went on a decade ago he’d still be alive and in his first semester at college.

  21. If “truth” is character assassination then maybe the problem is with the character and not the assassination.

    One can always be charged without being guilty… but, statistically, not many people get that kind of charge. Not many people get shot by the police, either. To wonder if the two might be connected (plus a robbery) is not insane.

  22. Quite frankly I don’t care if he still had a baby’s blood on his shirt when he was shot. We have a court system and due process to punish criminals, we don’t give cops a pass on executing someone just because that someone may or may not have had a record.

    • We aren’t taking about giving a cop a pass on murder because the person he shot had a post. What we have is two conflicting accounts of what happened and we are using the past of each party to try and gain insight about the likelihood of each story.

      We don’t have conclusive proof about what happened so we have to make due with what information we can scrounge up.

  23. I’m an engineer who went to work for 5 law firms as an expert witness. Drawn into many injuries and two deaths, both could have been easily prevented.

    When I thought we had a locked up case and was eager to go to trial none of the firms were jumping for joy. Why? Because juries are so unpredictable. My dress, my haircut, the cut of my mustache all were studied in detail before I testified, even in the non death cases. Juries are too prejudiced, too smart, too dumb, ethnically wrong and expert witnesses are too well dressed, poorly dressed, too sneaky looking, too stupid looking, have poor accents and some don’t have any accents.

    The attorneys I worked for always got to court first to claim the most advantageous seating. It got down to the width and color of my tie, “don’t shine your shoes too much, make them look scoffed’, you want to be like the jurors.

    DON’T explain anything, just yes or no. DON’T answer yes or no for a few seconds so it looks like you are thinking but you’re really giving me time to consider if I want to object to the question posed. Thus ANY jury really does not get all the facts, ever. In some cases both sides don’t want to go there because of what it might bring out. If I bring up something else that may give the opposing side a thought or two or open up a whole different line of reasoning.

    My take? Don’t go to trial unless it’s your life or career. I also have a great deal more respect and admiration for attorneys, those I worked for were honest, hardworking and took no prisoners, that’s what I want. Although I did object to them calling me at 1:00 am Sunday morning because they had a brain fart and wanted my thoughts. . . . yes I billed them for it (which the client paid for if we won anything).

    Shooting someone, if you’re a cop or not, in the right or not, is always a life changing event (as is being shot). Pretty deep thought, huh?

  24. We should all be mindful of the willful behavior of those who would incite and promote a deceitful lie, in place of the horrible, awful truth. This is the angry, self-entitled mob. And I’m just talking about the people working for the liberal-biased press.

  25. This event, like the GZ Martin affair, is a PR battle. If you are in a DGU expect the same treatment. Only worse since the police will release your name and address and the media will blare about every single thing you’ve said or done your entire life. Meanwhile the aggressor is treated to a hero’s funeral and the family uses lawyers to attack you and goad the DA into pressing charges.

    Notice how the preferred photos are only face portraits not full length pictures? They are going with little league and high school grad pictures.

    The alternative is to let the aggressor win. Not sure that’s a good idea.

  26. Unless and until the records are released (or someone credible with personal knowledge of the contents of the records is willing to go on record), this is just rumormongering. Yes, the same thing is happening WRT the police officer’s past, but that doesn’t make it right either.

    If the rumors are correct, there are all sorts of interesting legal issues regarding whether they would be admissible and how it would play out. (From my perspective as a trial lawyer, I’ll add that a lot of the commentary above about the admissibility of such evidence is, shall we say, amusing.)

    However, I have a radical suggestion here: why don’t we wait for some actual facts before speculating about such issues?

  27. Criminal history matters. There isn’t any more obvious way to say it. I check criminal and warrant histories whenever I can. The criminal history speaks to the totality of the circumstances, and can also speak to the character of an individual.

    Got three or more at-fault crashes? You’re probably a crappy driver.
    Got three DUIs? You’re an irresponsible drinker, and probably an alcoholic
    Got three speeding tickets last year? You speed. A lot.
    Got 7 tickets in the last 2 years? You probably drive like a jerk.
    Ever been arrested for molesting children? You ain’t gonna babysit my kid.

    Sometimes it really is that simple. So if the “Gentle Giant” has a record, that’s relevant. If the officer has a record of excessive force complaints, that’s relevant. Put the damn facts on the table and stop worrying about feelings.

  28. Evidence of other crimes committed by a defendant is usually not admissible at a trial of the accused wrongdoer, because such evidence is highly prejudicial — the jury might conclude that if the defendant did crime A, he probably did crime B. Other crimes evidence also forces the defendant to defend against more than the crime that he is charged with committing. There are exceptions to the bar on other crimes evidence, but they are limited.

    Other crimes evidence may also be inadmissible when the person who did such other crimes is NOT the defendant, such as this case, since the officer probably had no knowledge of the sealed record and could not have factored those other crimes into his decisions.

    However, when character is at issue, other crimes evidence may actually be probative and therefore admissible.

    The upshot is that we might want to know about Mike Brown’s past, but it’s unlikely that a trial court will admit it into evidence even if Brown’s juvie record is released.

    • There we go. I agree. It should be innocent until proven guilty – Not probably guilty based on this statistical “evidence” – so lets just go with guilty.

      Prior history does not prove guilt for present events. If I was a juror I would throw that crap out.

      • And if I was a juror I would just go with the totality if the circumstances. But I’ll never be a juror – ever – because my history as a police officer virtually assures that an attorney will be prejudiced against me and disqualify me from the ever judging the trial in the first place.

  29. When this first came out in the news, I thought this to be a case of police brutality. For a moment in time, I believed the reports, the accusations. Now that the narrative of this “modern civil rights movement” has turned out to be a bald faced lie, a politically motivated twist of facts, I am sure I will never believe them again. They described him as a gentle giant, but evidence show that he was a thug, a thief, and a blight on society. Many of my friends are black. They are some of the best people I know. It makes me very angry that this thug is being paraded around like he represents everyone with African ancestry, when in reality, he represent very few.

  30. Brown’s record matters because of the politics, not whether or not the shooting was justified. A whole bunch of people are going to look very stupid for supporting this if it turns out Brown was a violent gang member.

  31. I’m confused over the term “character assassination”. Shouldn’t it be called a “character suicide”? No one had more of an effect on Brown’s character than the actions of Brown himself. “Character facts”, perhaps?

    • Facts don’t fit the narrative, and thus they should at best be disregarded, and at worst considered “racist” (whatever that word means anymore).

  32. Ralph, Dirk, thanks for explaining the court rules.

    Since Officer Wilson and the Ferguson PD is being tried in the court of public opinion by everyone from OWS wannabe nitwits with an Iphone, to US AG Holder and his buddies in the activist race baiting industry, it only seems fair that anything that can shed light on Mr Browns behavior would be helpful to defuse this whole ridiculous circus show, that is obviously being used to distract from more important issues, ie “never let a crisis go to waste”.

    If Mr Brown is another example of urban black youth disenfranchisement and criminal dysfunction, it would help some of the black leaders brave enough to speak up, about how to start change from within that community, rather than blame Uncle Sam, or white cops, or little green men.

    If there is an LEO lesson learned here, it is “invest in Body and Dash Cams, using the gas money saved, by sending the MRAP back to DOD”.

  33. I can’t help but observe that the voices calling foul for bringing up Brown’s alleged past accusation of 2nd degree murder seem to be coming from the same people who pontificate about more background checks being necessary before someone is “permitted” access to a firearm — and who happily support permanently denying a Constitutional right to anyone who has every had a restraining order, even one falsely or maliciously filed by a vengeful ex-spouse.

    Past acts may be predictive of future behavior, or they may not. But don’t be a hypocrite about it, please.

  34. The people are people so we should just treat them like people™ defense holds no water on any planet. Do you know why most people can’t relate to having their character assassinated with allegations of murder and robbery? Because most people don’t f*king rob, kill, or steal, and would be horrified at even the thought of it. You show me a guy who has been “accused” of 2nd degree murder, and I will show you a guy that my family and friends should go nowhere near. Scarlet Letter? Maybe, but you know what? More than one person has died while foolishly believing that horse crap. Guilty until proven innocent? No, I’m not saying throw them in jail without proof, I’m saying stay the hell away from them, you know like common sense dictates.

  35. I’ll reserve judgment until I see actual evidence and learn the circumstances of the crime. The opinion of an anonymous source, LEO or man on the street, has very little value to me.

  36. Not sure how many posters here know any Police Officers/Deputy’s, I know quite a few, had a job for some 23 years that thrust us together.

    The chance that a LEO would casually flip out his Duty Pistol, and casually shoot a person, of any age or color, because it seemed like a good idea, is ludicrous. Many an Officer has been injured in arrest situations, because they were massively reluctant to draw that firearm. Even when injured.

  37. Being a Crips gang member is a lifestyle choice to perpetrate violence and crime on a daily basis. Doesn’t matter if caught or not, convicted or not. It is relevant to character.

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