Bob McCulloch’s day just got a lot worse.

by Chuck Stanley

Robert McCulloch St. Louis County Prosecutor

Robert McCulloch
St. Louis County Prosecutor

A group of seven St. Louis County residents have just filed a formal bar complaint against St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch.  Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys Kathi Alizadeh and Sheila Whirley were also named in the complaint.

James R. Dowd, a former judge and practicing attorney, along with attorney Robert Ramsey, reviewed the grand jury transcript, examined evidence exhibits, witness statements and testimony presented.  Dowd and Ramsey presented their review to a group of seven citizens and attorneys.  The group, led by  Ethics Project founder Christi Griffin, filed an eleven (11) page complaint alleging ethical misconduct with the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel for the Missouri Bar in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Fifteen violations of ethics are cited, including:

Presenting witnesses to the grand jury (including Darren Wilson) who McCulloch, Alizadeh and Whirley knew or should have known would make false statements, is not exhaustive.

Under Missouri Supreme Court Rule, the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel has the duty to investigate allegations of misconduct by lawyers and for prosecuting cases where the misconduct poses a threat to the public or to the integrity of the legal profession.

It is the position of the complainants that McCulloch, Alizadeh and Whirley’s conduct have done both.

Presenting the grand jury with a legal instruction ruled unconstitutional for decades.

Mislabeling and misplacing evidence related to key witness Dorian Johnson.

Failing to provide specific charges to the jury after “dumping” on them thousands of pages of interviews and evidence the complainants cite as going above gross negligence.

Griffin said, “He (McCulloch) is the one that is allowing that perjured testimony to be presented to the grand jury, and that is a direct violation of the Code of Professional Ethics.”

The complaint was faxed to the Missouri Bar this afternoon.  Hard copies will be delivered tomorrow. The story was initially broken by St. Louis station KMOV, Channel 4.   Later, a more detailed story was aired by station KMOX.

This is about to get interesting.

About Chuck Stanley

Dr. Charlton (Chuck) Stanley is a board certified forensic psychologist, with interests in aviation psychology, peace officer selection and training, ethics and communication skills.
This entry was posted in Courts, Crime, Jurisprudence, Justice, Law Enforcement, Legal Analysis, Legal Theory, Local Government, Missouri, United States and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to Bob McCulloch’s day just got a lot worse.

  1. Slartibartfast says:

    They always say it isn’t the deed that gets you, it’s the cover up. Hopefully McCullough will get everything that he deserves for his actions.

  2. mespo727272 says:

    You like to think that ethical people handle enforcement of professional ethics. We shall surely see in the “Show Me State.”

  3. bettykath says:

    Finally some good news.

  4. Slartibartfast says:

    I see what you did there, Gene. 😉

  5. Frenchy says:

    Much Ado About Nothing

  6. blouise17 says:

    Slarti,

    A true wordsmith be he, indeed.

  7. buckaroo says:

    This reminds me of that Shakespeare play ” Much ado ………..”

  8. Slartibartfast says:

    and in deed.

    Frenchy,

    Maybe. We’ll see how it plays out.

  9. blouise17 says:

    ” The complaint was faxed to the Missouri Bar this afternoon. ”

    A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark. – Dante’s Divine Comedy

  10. Elaine M. says:

    Group Considers Filing Ethics Complaint Against McCulloch
    12/3/14
    http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2014/12/03/group-threatens-filing-ethics-complaint-against-mcculloch/

    ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – After facing criticism for his handling of the Ferguson grand jury investigation, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch may have his law license threatened.
    A group headed by Dr. Christi Griffin with the Ethics Project will meet tonight to determine whether it will file an ethics complaint against McCulloch with the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel, an agency of the Missouri Supreme Court.

    Griffin says initial reports from the Ferguson police chief that Darren Wilson did not know that Michael Brown was suspected in an earlier convenience store robbery were changed in testimony before the grand jury, and she believes that represents perjury.

    “He is the one that is allowing that perjured testimony to be presented to the grand jury, and that is a direct violation of the Code of Professional Ethics,” she says.

    Griffin also contends McCulloch did not give the grand jury proper instructions – another ethics violation.

  11. Mike Spindell says:

    McCullough unethical? Perish the thought he’s just a man who loves dogs.

  12. nivico says:

    Lol… the founder and president of The Ethics Project that filed the complaint, Christi Griffin, was suspended from practicing law by the Missouri State Bar in 2007.

    http://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=5906

    May 29, 2007

    Supreme Court No. SC88322
    In re: Christi S. Fingal-Griffin, MBE No. 33527

    ORDER

    WHEREAS, the Chief Disciplinary Counsel has filed the complete record before the Disciplinary Hearing Panel, and said cause having been briefed and argued;

    The Court finds Respondent has violated Rules 4-1.7(b), 4-1.8(a), 4-1.8(b), 4-8.4(c), 4-8.4(d), 4-1.2(a), 4-1.4, and 4-1.16(a) of the Rules of Professional Conduct and should be disciplined;

    Now, Therefore, it is ordered that Respondent, Christi S. Fingal-Griffin, be, and she is hereby, suspended from the practice of law in this state, and no petition for reinstatement will be entertained for a period of three years from the date of this order.

    It is further ordered that Christi S. Fingal-Griffin comply in all respect with Rule 5.27 – Notification of Clients and Counsel.

    Costs taxed to Respondent.

    Day – to – Day

    ___________________________
    Michael A. Wolff
    Chief Justice

    White, J., not participating.

  13. blouise says:

    According to Missouri Rules of Professional Conduct, RULE 4-3.3, “A lawyer shall not knowingly offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false.” The operative word being knowingly. McCulloch can claim he didn’t know for certain that perjury was being committed but since nobody believes a word he says anymore, he’s got a problem claiming ignorance.

    The problem, it seems to me, gets bigger if he or his staff discussed the testimony with the witness because then he’s got the fifth element, and the only one missing out of the five in subornation of perjury.

    1. Proof that perjury has been committed.
    2. The statements made were material.
    3. The perjurer knew their statements were false.
    4. The prosecutor knew the perjurer’s statements were false.
    5. The prosecutor made an agreement with a person to testify falsely.

  14. nivico says:

    Guess my previous post got caught by the spam filters…

    Anyhoo, you might wanna do a little research on the lady who filed the complaint against McCulloch, Christi Griffin (aka Christi Fingal, aka Christi Fingal-Griffin).

    She was suspended from practicing law in Missouri in 2007 for scheming to defraud an elderly client of hers.

    Click to access SC88322_Offc_of_Disciplinary_Counsel_Brief.pdf

  15. nivico says:

    Under Missouri Supreme Court Rule, the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel has the duty to investigate allegations of misconduct by lawyers and for prosecuting cases where the misconduct poses a threat to the public or to the integrity of the legal profession.

    ———————-

    Lol, she essentially pulled this language from the case against her that resulted in her suspension.

    So I’m gonna out on a limb here and guess this she is a bitter and vexatious complainant who spends her free time filing frivolous complaints with the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel that suspended her.

  16. eniobob says:

    This is also going on here in the Metro New York/New Jersey area there were demonstrations yesterday 1/5/2015 in Staten Island :

    “Staten Island Lawmakers To Push Grand Jury Transparency

    Two state lawmakers from Staten Island will push for reforms to the state’s grand jury proceedings that will be aimed at requiring more information on their deliberations be released.

    Democratic Assemblyman Matt Titone and IDC Sen. Diane Savino announced in a joint statement on Friday afternoon they plan to pursue the changes, which come after a grand jury in their home borough voted to not indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the choking death of Eric Garner stemming from a July incident.”

    http://www.nystateofpolitics.com/2014/12/staten-island-lawmakers-to-push-grand-jury-transparency/

  17. eniobob says:

    FYI More on Staten Island and a subject discussed here a bit at the end of last year:”The use of
    Grand Juries.

    “The United States is one of very few countries to still use grand juries to decide whether to indict someone with a crime. The system has come under renewed scrutiny with the cases of Garner and of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager killed by a white police officer last August in Ferguson, Missouri.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/01/judge-to-consider-releasing-public-records-from-the-eric-garner-grand-jury/

  18. bettykath says:

    I served on a grand jury several years ago. It was a waste of time. They already knew who they were going to prosecute and who they were not. Maybe it was the football player who participated in a shoplifting incident that they wanted to bypass. He was the only potential defendant who appeared before us, attorney at his side and supportive DA. After all, they “couldn’t” prosecute someone the gj returned no bill. Close vote but the kid walked.

  19. Bob Kauten says:

    Ethics violation?
    I don’t see…any ethics…at all, sir.

  20. blouise says:

    bettykath,

    I submitted a short intro to Gene on the OJ material

  21. Mike Spindell says:

    I can’t wait for the OJ piece.

  22. Elaine M. says:

    Does it have anything to do with dogs?

  23. blouise says:

    Mike,

    I think po will also be interested.

  24. blouise17 says:

    Elaine,

    Other than the dog, Kato (named after the cool dude, Kato, who the 2 kids loved)that called attention to the bodies and the dog walkers, and the dog hairs in the watchcap, no, no dogs.

    The intro I gave Gene is short and sweet. All the details will emerge in the discussion.

  25. Mike Spindell says:

    Blouise,

    I don’t know that it isn’t about dogs, at least concptualize them.

  26. Bob Kauten says:

    I can’t comprehend any argument that’s not an analogy to dogs.

  27. Mike Spindell says:

    I’m getting sick of using my smart phone and Kindle to comment. Their spell check keeps trashing my comments, as above. Oh how I want my laptop back.

  28. blouise says:

    Mike,

    Do you remember how funny raff’s spell check mistakes were?

  29. Elaine M. says:

    NAACP wants new grand jury in Ferguson case
    http://www.ksdk.com/story/news/local/ferguson/2015/01/06/naacp-new-ferguson-grand-jury-piper/21329701/

    Excerpt:
    ST. LOUIS (AP) – The NAACP is asking a Missouri judge to convene a new grand jury to consider charges against the Ferguson officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown.

    The NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund on Monday submitted a letter to St. Louis County Circuit Judge Maura McShane. The letter also requests an investigation of the grand jury proceedings that led to the decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson. The white officer fatally shot Brown, who was black and unarmed, on Aug. 9, leading to significant unrest.

  30. Bob Stone says:

    Ferguson grand juror sues, seeking right to speak about his reactions to the evidence

    “The grand juror has a strong, though not ironclad, First Amendment case.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/01/05/ferguson-grand-juror-sues-seeking-right-to-speak-about-his-reactions-to-the-evidence/

  31. bettykath says:

    blouise, thanks. looking forward to the thread. spent 3 days traveling. will be traveling again tomorrow. will stay put for awhile but don’t know about internet availability.

    bob k, yes, there is a dog so it’s for you, too.

  32. blouise says:

    Peter Joy, professor of law and director of the Criminal Justice Clinic at Washington University in St. Louis says, “It’s a high bar to get an order to do that. You have to demonstrate that your constitutional rights would be irreparably harmed” if not allowed to speak​.
    As they are convened by and under the control of a presiding judge.” He also notes in his comments the other jury members who thought their conversations during the proceedings would remain secret.

    Could they sue to keep Juror Doe from speaking out?

    It seems to me that any resolution to this legal conundrum McCulloch has foisted upon Missouri’s legal system will take years. But, in filing the suit, Juror Doe has said far more than McCulloch wanted said. At least one juror seems unwilling to take the fall McCulloch engineered.

    This may be the way the Feds worm themselves into the whole McCulloch situation.

  33. blouise17 says:

    bettykath,

    No worries. The thread will always be waiting for you. 😉

  34. blouise17 says:

    bettykath,

    Gene may get it posted this week but he’s a bit under the weather so it may not be till next week. He has to do an intro as this is something of a new step for the blog.

    It would seem you and I are on the cutting edge … 😎

  35. blouise17 says:

    Correction to my post at 11:41am

    I didn’t proof read well enough and attributed one sentence to the professor that wasn’t his. It should read:
    Peter Joy, professor of law and director of the Criminal Justice Clinic at Washington University in St. Louis says, “It’s a high bar to get an order to do that. You have to demonstrate that your constitutional rights would be irreparably harmed if not allowed to speak​.”
    He also notes in his comments the other jury members who thought their conversations during the proceedings would remain secret.

    The additional sentence:
    As they are convened by and under the control of a presiding judge.” is not his and shouldn’t be there at all. My apologies.

  36. bettykath says:

    blouise, Hope others read the book. This is more exciting than a book club. Anticipation.

  37. blouise17 says:

    bettykath,

    I did not do a review of the book so others will have to if they want the full story upfront. The basic points he makes can be easily put down in a list of 10 – 12 which we will do as we comment. Everything is so intricately woven into the investigation, trial, and media coverage that those who followed the case closely will be quicker at picking up the points made than those who didn’t.

    Further, the social implications are still resounding as loudly today as they did in the mid ’90’s. You and I should have a good time going down that road.

  38. nivico says:

    “It’s a high bar to get an order to do that. You have to demonstrate that your constitutional rights would be irreparably harmed if not allowed to speak​.”

    Another poster elsewhere made a very good point, too, that grand jurors waive their right to speak about the case when they are sworn in as grand jurors.

    Here is Missouri’s version of the grand jurors oath:

    __________________________________

    Do you solemnly swear you will diligently inquire and true presentment make, according to your charge, of all offenses against the laws of the state committed or triable in this county of which you have or can obtain legal evidence; the counsel of your state, your fellows and your own, you shall truly keep secret? You further swear that you will present no one for any hatred, malice or ill will; neither will you leave unpresented any one for love, fear, favor or affection, or for any reward or the hope or promise thereof, but that you will present things truly as they come to your knowledge, to the best of your understanding, according to the laws of this state, so help you God.
    ________________________________________

    Emphasis on “Do you solemnly swear … you shall truly keep secret?”

  39. blouise17 says:

    O.J. Is Innocent and I Can Prove It by William C. Dear

  40. blouise17 says:

    You have to demonstrate that your constitutional rights would be irreparably harmed if not allowed to speak​.

    Cue the Feds

  41. Bob Stone says:

    Nivico,

    I don’t know if the Butterworth case applies here and I can’t say that I care all that much. One grand juror does not speak for all 12; and yet from the complaint, e.g. paragraph 32, she apparently thinks that she does.

    From Justice Harlan’s discussion of the purpose of a Grand Jury in Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. 516 (1884)

    “Erskine, in his speech delivered in 1784 in defence of the Dean of St. Asaph, said, in the presence of the judges of the King’s Bench:

    If a man were to commit a capital offence in the face of all the judges of England, their united authority could not put him upon his trial; they could file no complaint against him, even upon the records of the supreme criminal court, but could only commit him for safe custody, which is equally competent to every common justice of the peace. The grand jury alone could arraign him, and, in their discretion, might likewise finally discharge him by throwing out the bill, with the names of all your lordships as witnesses on the back of it. If it be said that this exclusive power of the grand jury does not extend to lesser misdemeanors, which may be prosecuted by information, I answer that, for that reason, it becomes doubly necessary to preserve the power of the other jury which [p544] is left.

    … Blackstone, after observing that the English law has wisely placed this strong and two-fold barrier of a presentment and a trial by jury, between the liberties of the people and the prerogative of the crown, says:

    The founders of the English law have, with excellent forecast, contrived that no man shall be called to answer the King for any capital crime unless upon the peremptory accusation of twelve or more of his fellow subjects, the grand jury, and that the truth of any accusation, whether preferred in the shape of an indictment, information, or appeal, should afterwards be confirmed by the unanimous suffrage of twelve of his equals and neighbors, indifferently chosen and superior to all suspicion. So that the liberties of England cannot but subsist so long as this palladan remains sacred and inviolate not only from all [p545] open attacks (which none will be so hardy as to make), but also from all secret machinations which may sap and undermine it by introducing new and arbitrary methods of trial by justices of the peace, commissioners of the revenue, and courts of conscience. And however convenient these may appear at first (as doubtless all arbitrary powers, well executed, are the most convenient), yet let it be again remembered that delays and little inconveniences in the forms of justice are the price that all free nations must pay for their liberty in more substantial matters; that these inroads upon the sacred bulwark of the nation are fundamentally opposite to the spirit of our constitution, and that, though begun in trifles, the precedent may gradually increase and spread to the utter disuse of jurors in questions of the most momentous concern. 4 Bl.Com. 349-350.”

  42. pete says:

    Damn, this blouise 17.0 is a real badass. I do wonder what she did with the other 16 though.

  43. blouise says:

    The other 16 are wanted in jurisdictions that 17 avoids.

    “Although Smith, Jones, and Johnson are easy names to remember when there is no occasion to remember them, it is next to impossible to recollect them when they are wanted. How do criminals manage to keep a brand-new alias in mind? This is a great mystery.”
    – Life on the Mississippi (Mark Twain)

    Not if one can count.

  44. nivico says:

    “I don’t know if the Butterworth case applies here…”

    The pertinent part of Butterworth, imo, is that while the court found it too restrictive to prohibit a witness from ever speaking about his ‘own’ testimony to anyone, the court additionally found that it was permissible to prohibit him from speaking about the testimony given by other witnesses. It essentially works like ‘privilege,’ you can waive your own privilege but not that of others.

    In any event, I just read the entire 11 page suit and it’s essentially one giant strawman argument. It was never stated or implied by McCulloch that all 12 members of the grand jury were unanimous in their decision… and even if that were true, the matter has essentially been cleared up by the complaint itself.

    * I especially loved the part where the plaintiff is asking the judge to enjoin McCulloch from enforcing the law… ugh.

  45. Bob Stone says:

    Nivico,

    Plaintiff would have to ask the court to enjoin McCulloch from enforcing the law if it was found in violation of the first amendment.

    In the abstract, the cause of action quite intriguing. For instance, in order for the case to be heard the plaintiff would have to satisfy all elements of justiciability. Here, since plaintiff wasn’t silenced by McCulloch, there’s the problem of ripeness.

    And while all the materials from the grand jury proceeding have been released, I wonder if the court will consider the issues of privity between the grand jurors. How does allowing the one juror to break her agreement affect the other eleven; and should that be a consideration. What precedent does it set.

    What I find disturbing about the complaint, however, is the perpetuation of a false and defamatory narrative. To this day, the media routinely keeps the myth alive by committing lies of omission. Last December, the NY Times printed a story about the protests saying:

    “Protests on Monday maintained the momentum of those seeking justice for the unarmed black teenager who was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., almost four months ago.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/us/a-week-later-protesters-keep-hold-of-ferguson-decision.html?_r=0

    But the Times never mentions in the article, as the paper itself reported just a few months earlier, that “the [Federal] officials briefed on the case said the forensic evidence gathered in the car lent credence to Officer Wilson’s version of events.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/18/us/ferguson-case-officer-is-said-to-cite-struggle.html

    That would be the forensic evidence showing that the “unarmed” Mike Brown actually assaulted Wilson and wrestled him for control of his gun inside the car; i.e. the self-defense foundation. And that would also be the forensic evidence proving that Brown advanced on Wilson while he was back-pedaling and firing for no less than 20 feet during the alleged surrender.

    And as far as that Bar complaint goes, it has sort of a Birther-desperation odor to it. I wonder if Orly Taitz was the ghost writer.

  46. Bob Kauten says:

    Bob,
    There’s no omission in “Protests on Monday maintained the momentum of those seeking justice for the unarmed black teenager who was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., almost four months ago.”
    It’s just a statement of fact.
    Protests on Monday…those seeking justice…
    Unarmed.
    Black.
    Teenager.
    Killed.
    By a white police officer.
    Ferguson, Mo.
    Four months ago.
    I’d say that covers the “who, what, where, when” press directive, pretty well.
    Or were the protesters not seeking justice?
    Right or wrong, they’re seeking justice, very much unlike Bob McCulloch, who couldn’t be bothered.

  47. Mike Spindell says:

    Bob K.,

    You keep missing BobStone’s point that he has been making all along. That is that when it comes to a police officer shooting someone any people protesting are frauds, liars and/or simple minded.

  48. nivico says:

    “… But the Times never mentions in the article, as the paper itself reported just a few months earlier, that “the [Federal] officials briefed on the case said the forensic evidence gathered in the car lent credence to Officer Wilson’s version of events.” …”

    Yes, isn’t it interesting how folks keep conveniently avoiding the fact that Holder’s DOJ investigated the situation as well and also declined to bring charges against Officer Wilson.

  49. Bob Kauten says:

    Mike,
    Thanks for straightening me out. I somehow totally missed Bob Stone’s point, that all matters police-killing-of-the-unarmed are sanctioned by the Almighty Authoritarian.
    I sit corrected.

  50. nivico says:

    “How does allowing the one juror to break her agreement affect the other eleven; and should that be a consideration.”

    Juror Doe’s complaint very much suggests that s/he wants to follow in the footsteps of Juror ‘Maddy’ from the Zimmerman trial… point the finger of blame at the other jurors by identifying herself as one of the dissenting jurors who would have indicted.

    Juror Doe also expressed in the complaint that s/he wants to publicly discuss the Wilson case in comparison to and in the context of all the other cases that were presented to the grand jury. So Doe is asking for permission to violate the oath of confidentiality and secrecy in regards to all of the cases, not just the one case.

  51. Bob Stone says:

    “[Tawana Brawley’s story] would, indeed, be horrible. If it were… you know… actually true. But it wasn’t true. Brawley made up the story to avoid a beating from her mother. Despite the fact that she named and slandered an innocent man, Assistant DA Steven Pagones (who eventually was awarded $345,000 for defamation), in 1991Legal scholar Patricia j. Williams wrote that Brawley “has been the victim of some unspeakable crime. No matter how she got there. No matter who did it to her—and even if she did it to herself.”

    We clear on that? Doctor of Jurisprudence from Harvard Law School and current law professor at Columbia University, said that Tawana Brawley — who slandered an innocent man with the most vile charges imaginable to avoid a beating from her own mother — was not the perpetrator of an unspeakable crime, but the victim of one.

    These are the new barbarians. Truth doesn’t matter. Law doesn’t matter. Individual lives do not matter. All that matters is Progressive politics, Progressive intimidation and Progressive power.”

    http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2014/12/13/the-new-barbarism-truth-is-optional/

  52. Bob Stone says:

    Anyone know how many witnesses interviewed said they saw Dorian Johnson where he swore he was during the altercation? Where he swore he was when he said he saw everything and did not see Brown reach for the officer’s weapon?

  53. Bob Stone says:

    “You must not spread a false report. Do not join the wicked to be a malicious witness.” — Exodus 23

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