August 22, 2014 9:30 am -

A Few days ago, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said he would not step in and replace Saint Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch as prosecutor in the case surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer who fired six shots into Brown. Activists, members of the public, and even a local Bar Association have continued to call for McCulloch to recuse himself from the case. And for good reason:

[McCulloch’s] police officer father was killed in the line of duty when McCulloch was 12.
[su_r_sky_ad]McCulloch’s mother, brother, uncle and cousin also worked for the St. Louis police department. Those close family ties to the police — and a bellwether decision 14 years ago not to prosecute two cops who shot and killed two suspects in a drug bust — have raised doubts about his objectivity in deciding whether Ferguson, Missouri, officer Darren Wilson should be prosecuted for the Aug. 9 killing of Brown, 18.

“We don’t have any confidence in the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney’s office,” Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, said last Friday during a visit to Ferguson, a predominantly black suburb where clashes have raged between protesters and police since Wilson, white, shot Brown, who was black. “I have no faith in him, but I do trust the FBI and the Justice Department.”

[su_sky_ad]Meanwhile, less militarized law enforcers has led to more peaceful protests in Ferguson:

As Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the National Guard to begin withdrawing from this St. Louis suburb Thursday, the persistent protests over the police killing of Michael Brown appeared smaller and much more subdued for the second night in a row.

About 75 demonstrators marched along West Florissant Avenue, at times posing for TV cameras and journalists. For a while, they were joined by State Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who is in charge of the police response, and by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.).

“We’ll look forward to another nice and calm night of protests,” Johnson said.

McCaskill joined the demonstrators for about half an hour. Asked whether the governor should remove St. Louis County Prosecuting Atty. Robert McCulloch from the case, as some have urged, she did not answer directly.

“He certainly has the power,” said McCaskill, a former prosecutor herself. “I understand there’s a perception out there that he [McCulloch] will not be fair. The governor has the power to remove him, and he should make a clear decision.”

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

39 responses to Why Brown Prosecutor Should Recuse Himself

  1. MIAtheistGal August 22nd, 2014 at 9:45 am

    He should recuse himself to appease just the appearance of impropriety. That would help the situation tremendously.

    • mea_mark August 22nd, 2014 at 10:11 am

      It could be they don’t really want to appease anybody. They want to look tough, like they are standing up to the ‘thugs of the world’. They want to remain in power and get the ‘white’ vote. The votes of the fearful that are easily manipulated by Fox news and all the political commercials.

      • olford August 22nd, 2014 at 6:25 pm

        Why is color making any difference ? It’s about guilt and conduct of character. Why do some try to assert a issue that makes no difference.
        Justice is and always must be color blind. Any other claim is not fair or just.

  2. R.J. Carter August 22nd, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Any judge who’s ever been mugged should thus recuse themselves from deciding any case involving a crime.

    McCulloch was elected to do this job.

    • MIAtheistGal August 22nd, 2014 at 11:30 am

      Not every crime, but it may be a good idea to recuse himself from certain mugging cases. It would depend on the exact situation.

      I have a friend who asked to be excused as a juror on a molestation case because he’d been molested and didn’t feel he could be impartial.

  3. William August 22nd, 2014 at 10:10 am

    I’m torn on this one. This prosecutor was elected by the people in his district. It doesn’t get any more representative than that. ,I understand the concerns, but allowing specific groups to pick and choose prosecutors based upon how their parent/s died is a bit of a stretch.

    • mea_mark August 22nd, 2014 at 10:14 am

      If you put it in context, that it is now a national issue and not just local issue, it makes more sense to have a special prosecutor that is more likely to have less bias.

      • William August 22nd, 2014 at 10:29 am

        My question is who gets to “appoint” this special prosecutor? Is it fair or even legal to swoop in and remove a legally elected representative from his sworn duty because of how that persons parent died? Here we are rolling our eyes at the impeachment bozo’s for wanting to remove our President for no legal reason. It would be convenient if the prosecutor would remove himself from the case, but allowing any particular group to pick and choose prosecutors opens up another can of worms.

        • edmeyer_able August 22nd, 2014 at 10:56 am

          He was 1st elected in 1991 when the racial mix was quite different than what it is today, with the rate of voter participation among Blacks this looks like it’s coming back to bite them in the A**.

          He also opposed the gov. decision to put the State Troopers in charge over the FPD which to me shows he thinks they were doing a good job controlling the situation. Something that to me shows a denial of reality.

          • William August 22nd, 2014 at 1:04 pm

            He was 1st elected in 1991 when the racial mix was quite different than what it is today
            Very valid point…but when was he last RE-ELECTED?

          • R.J. Carter August 22nd, 2014 at 1:23 pm

            McCulloch has been prosecuting attorney since 1991, and has been reelected to four-year terms ever since. He overwhelmingly won his primary on August 5, just four days before Brown’s death. He had an opponent for the first time since his 1994 campaign, facing off against an African-American woman, Leslie Tolliver Broadnax. She raised just $13,450 compared to McCulloch’s $361,000, according to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

            — Source: CNN

          • R.J. Carter August 22nd, 2014 at 1:24 pm

            Which means he’s up for re-election in 2015. We can expect this to be a key case for him leading up to the November elections next year.

          • William August 22nd, 2014 at 1:47 pm

            It’s pretty hard to find any silver lining in this tragedy…but.
            Too few people vote. Too few people care. My guess is that people will now pay more attention.

          • mea_mark August 22nd, 2014 at 1:28 pm

            Money and power have been buying the politics, what a surprise.

          • R.J. Carter August 22nd, 2014 at 1:43 pm

            Is there an election anywhere in the country where that hasn’t happened? Prior to this, nobody had run against him — his fault?

          • olford August 22nd, 2014 at 10:52 pm

            Why can’t we judge by character ? What difference would money make unless it’s dirty money from unions and other criminals like george soros outside the country.

          • R.J. Carter August 23rd, 2014 at 3:15 pm

            As long as the money isn’t buying votes, I don’t see why it matters how much a candidate raises. But I’m pretty “Citizens United” that way.

        • mea_mark August 22nd, 2014 at 11:06 am

          Eric Holder should recommend someone from out of state and the Governor should take the recommendation.

          • Eric Trommater August 22nd, 2014 at 11:12 am

            What happens when the GOP controls the Executive Branch and begins doing the same thing?

          • mea_mark August 22nd, 2014 at 11:13 am

            This is a special situation and why it should be a recommendation, not an order.

          • William August 22nd, 2014 at 1:02 pm

            Eric Holder should recommend someone from out of state and the Governor should take the recommendation
            Doesn’t that usurp the will of the people in that jurisdiction?

          • mea_mark August 22nd, 2014 at 1:15 pm

            I don’t know for sure, but my feeling is they would embrace it as it might help resolve some of the conflict and tension.

        • olford August 22nd, 2014 at 6:16 pm

          Justice for all, everyone. No more excuse’s to steal and vandalize property. Truth, Justice, wisdom, and mercy for all.

      • Eric Trommater August 22nd, 2014 at 11:04 am

        I don’t like special prosecuters replacing elected officials. In this case it may seem warrented but it will open a Pandora’s box if the RWNJs can use it to push through their agenda.

        • mea_mark August 22nd, 2014 at 11:09 am

          That is why Holder should make a recommendation, keep it more or less impartial from the get go.

    • R.J. Carter August 22nd, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Speaking from a local perspective, Nixon and others are a tad upset with the prosecutor because he didn’t support (and actively campaigned against) Charlie Dooley for his bid as County Executive earlier this month.

      • William August 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 pm

        I heard that as well. It’s sad when the justice system is effected by petty politics.

  4. Eric Trommater August 22nd, 2014 at 10:56 am

    The problem is the mistrust sewn into these proceedings from the start by the inept leadership. Making an elected official recuse himself and having that same inept leadership appoint a replacement would simply make that worse. It also seems a bit un-democratic to me.

  5. William August 22nd, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Has anyone else noticed that this thread despite having different views is (so far) thoughtful, civil and respectful?
    Very cool.

    • mea_mark August 22nd, 2014 at 1:17 pm

      It is still early and now you have jinxed it, thanks. 🙂

      • William August 22nd, 2014 at 1:38 pm

        It is still early and now you have jinxed it, thanks
        You’re welcome.

  6. William August 22nd, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    I am fully expecting some troll to pop in and write “wattsa-matter, aint the DA black enough for ya?
    I can only deduce that there is a Dukes of Hazard marathon showing on cable right now.

  7. John Tarter August 22nd, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    So then, shouldn’t the AG Eric Holder likewise remove himself from investigating this case? This is a black man who has a case to grind against the system for all the injustices he has said he was subjected to as a young man and I don’t think he can be impartial in this case.

    • Herb Sarge Phelps August 22nd, 2014 at 2:35 pm

      You know it is like strange watching the comments on this topic. I remember things from my youth in Mississippi and statements made back then which lingers with me to this day. I wondered back then if people I remember my adoptive parents trying to teach me how the blacks (didn’t called them blacks) were a sub-human group and therefore not subject to the same set of laws (and boy they were not), however when they started to get rights the segregationist didn’t like they started making cheap excuses like this one. A little advice to you, you don’t want to be like them because most of us children from those days, are embarrassed by their racism.

      • olford August 22nd, 2014 at 3:42 pm

        I hope and pray that you are man enough to disregard any of those old southern democrat / KKK views and treat everyone as Christ treats us.
        No one has to follow in hate. I refuse to carry hate, it’s in my heart. Amen

        • Herb Sarge Phelps August 22nd, 2014 at 5:20 pm

          did you read my post and see my views? If not do so. I think the statements tell enough of where I stand.

          • olford August 22nd, 2014 at 6:25 pm

            I’m sorry I didn’t read far enough down. God Bless your decision.
            I’m most concerned about folks that use that as a reason or excuse to bash the people of our nation as if everyone still feels that way or some how we still owe someone something. There are those who make it sound like that racism is still a big issue or want it to be so they can continue in unlawful behavior. This is not a big problem by in large, but folks like Sharpton and Jackson keep it going so they can make profit from others pain. God Bless

  8. Elliot J. Stamler August 22nd, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    It strikes me that the interest of the perception as well as the reality of crucial objectivity should lead Mr. McCulloch to recuse himself. But since I gather he has been the prosecutor for a long time and one 14-yr old decision there does not seem to me to be grounds for Gov. Nixon to remove him. After all if his familial relationship to the police prejudiced his official actions I would think long before now it would have become apparent. What I want is scrupulous objectivity and honesty and no catering to the screaming, shrieking Al Sharpton types who have already judged officer Wilson guilty and Brown a martyr. This latter statement, all you police-haters, is a fair description of Sharpton whom we in NYC where he works/lives have gotten to know him well for many decades..a phony minister who lives to stir up hatred against all white people all the time. If Wilson committed a crime he should be prosecuted. In this country someone is innocent until proven guilty.

    • olford August 22nd, 2014 at 10:48 pm

      Thank You for being honest and wait for truth and justice.