Delaware county criminal defense attorney Enrique Latoison legal commentary on grand jury’s deliberation process on whether Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson will be charged with a crime for fatally shooting Michael Brown.
Keith Jones: Sometime this evening, we’ll learn the decision of a Grand Jury in a high profile shooting. The focus is on Ferguson, Missouri where a white police officer shot to death an unarmed black teen. The issue is whether the police officer will be indicted.
Female: Joining us now live is NBC 10 Legal Analyst, Enrique Latoison. Enrique, the Grand Jury process has been going on for months now, so how does a Grand Jury work, for those who aren’t familiar, in a case like this?
Enrique Latoison: Well, what happens is the prosecutor presents his evidence to 12 people. These 12 people have to decide whether or not there’s probable cause to arrest and to give an indictment for the officer here. There’s four charges they’re considering here. They are considering first degree murder, second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and manslaughter. And the prosecutor of this case is not making any recommendations. He’s allowing the Grand Jury to have heard all of this evidence that’s went on for months, and they’re going to make that determination. The Grand Jury, in this particular case, has the ability to ask questions, to ask to see particular evidence, and to hear expert testimony. So, they’ve been involved in the process and, now, we’re going to hear their decision soon.
Keith Jones: If the Grand Jury does indict Officer Wilson, what’s next? What happens next, Enrique?
Enrique Latoison: Well, what happens is the process starts from the very beginning. He will be arraigned. He will be charged. And, then, he’s going to be innocent until proven guilty, if proven guilty, just like every other American citizen. So, he’ll have his day in court. He’ll be able to go to trial. And this — whether or not the Grand Jury indicts is only probable cause. Whether or not he is guilty of any particular charge is beyond a reasonable doubt. So, it’ll be a very lengthy process with I assume a very lengthy trial.
Female: And on the flipside of that, if the officer is not indicted, can he still face criminal prosecution?
Enrique Latoison: Well, he can. At this particular point, two ways that can still happen. One, if new evidence occurs, he can go back before the Grand Jury and they can ask whether again for more charges to be brought again. Secondly, the federal government can still prosecute. If the federal government feels as though this officer violated the Civil Rights of the victim in this case, then they could still charge him.
Keith Jones: And that decision expected at 7:00 p.m. Central Time. That’s 8:00 p.m. our time. NBC 10 Legal Analyst Enrique Latoison, thank you so much for joining us.
Enrique Latoison: Thank you.