Ferguson Prosecutor to Speak at St. Louis University

scales_of_justice1by Gene Howington

Bob McCulloch is in the news again. The now infamous prosecutor from the Michael Brown case has been scheduled for an upcoming speech at St. Louis University, raising the ire of some students. The focus of the Feb. 20 law school event is on police practices after Ferguson. The student law review symposium will also feature County Police Chief Jon Belmar and social scientists from five other universities. He is expected to answer audience questions for 25 minutes after a 35-minute talk.

The Black Law Students Association and others have asked the school’s dean to rescind the invitation, pointing to legal and ethics challenges to McCulloch’s tactics before a grand jury that declined to indict former Ferguson officer Darren Wilson. McCulloch has acknowledged these problems while doing nothing to address them.  He admits to calling witnesses whom he said “clearly lied” to the grand jury. One such witness has been identified as Sandra McElroy, a “bipolar Missouri woman with a criminal past who has a history of making racist remarks and once insinuated herself into another high-profile St. Louis criminal case with claims that police eventually dismissed as a ‘complete fabrication.’” She claimed to have seen Brown charge at Wilson, a claim that could neither be confirmed nor denied by the forensic evidence.

A 3L at St. Louis University had this to say:

“One of the first things we learn is you don’t put a witness on the stand that you know is lying,” said third-year law student Christina Vogel, who volunteered as a legal observer at the frequent protests that followed Brown’s death.

Well . . . duh. Another one of the “first things we learn” is not to misrepresent, i.e. lie, about the standards and letter of the law. McCulloch and two assistants, Kathy Alizadeh and Sheila Whirley, also currently face a disciplinary complaint alleging that they provided grand jurors with improper instructions on the legal standards for use of force by police. It had been strongly suggested before the grand jury that McCulloch should have recused himself due to a publicly known history of pro-police bias as well as personal family history that created the appearance of bias if not bias in fact.

The law school’s dean, former state Supreme Court chief justice Michael Wolff, said in an interview that the school has no intention of rescinding the invitation, noting that student organizers and not administrators had invited McCulloch to speak. Citing academic freedom, School President Fred Pestello said in an email addressed to students and faculty that “These conversations need to happen – and SLU needs to be a place that supports and contributes to them – if we are to improve the quality of life for everyone in our region.”

There are several ways to look at the nature of this complaint about the speaking engagement. One is that the ideals of justice find the notion of giving McCulloch another public platform inherently a repugnant notion. This is in a way the heart of student complaints. Another way is the free speech truism that the proper response to injustice and/or corruption is the sunlight of public scrutiny and discourse. This is akin to Pestello’s argument regarding academic freedom. No problem was ever solved or conflict resolved without first defining it and formulating options for mitigation or elimination. The response of Wolff is a non-answer pass on responsibility and, quite frankly, ill-thought out and spineless, but it has been my experience that law school deans come in two primary flavors: true scholars and academic politicians. Many are a little of both. For lack of a better term, Wolff’s argument “is what it is”.

I submit that there is yet another way to look at this and that is a nexus between karma and justice. I suspect that the nature of the audience, already adverse to the to the manifest mishandling of the grand jury proceedings in which McCulloch’s office and agents effectively proffered an affirmative defense for Darren Wilson and displaced the role of the courts as trier of fact, is going to give McCulloch twenty-five of the most uncomfortable minutes of his life. Their questioning is likely to be heated and directed by idealism that is often inherent in law students. It could be and should be a moment of karmic justice in the public eye that provides some satisfaction in lieu of disbarment proceedings or criminal charges of obstruction that are probably not in the cards due to politics trumping justice regarding McCulloch.

What do you think?

Source(s): AP via Huffington Post, The Smoking Gun, The Free Thought Project, Common Dreams

About Gene Howington

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63 Responses to Ferguson Prosecutor to Speak at St. Louis University

  1. While I understand the objection of the students, I think the invitation to speak should stand. Especially in view of the scheduled Q&A follow-up. The best medicine is the tincture of sunlight. While McCulloch may be getting another public platform, he is also exposing himself to some questions the mainstream media may gloss over. I also hope the format allows for follow-up questions. That would be worth going to see.

  2. Mike Spindell says:

    I would want him to speak. Too often there is the sense that academic freedom must be in the bounds of specific parameters of what are allowable ideas. As Gene mentions, McCulloch should be facing a much tougher audience than he faced from the media. This event will have media coverage I presume and I think the interchange will no go well for this prosecutor.

  3. blouise says:

    We had an open and free flowing discussion here. That didn’t work out so well for McCulloch.

    It will be interesting to see what form of questioning the University allows.

    If, I repeat, If, there was any hint of Ivory Tower blindness behind the invitation, that has been shattered and the complaint has put everyone on notice. I, however, think it’s mostly political and the complaining students know that.

    From a political standpoint, the Dean of the law school may be a past appointee to the state’s Supreme Court but he also served as special council to the governor who eventually appointed him, Mel Carnahan. If that name is familiar at all it might be because during his, Mel Carnahan’s, run for the U S Senate in 2000, he died. But he still won the seat posthumously. Who did he beat? John Ashcroft. John Ashcroft who lost to a dead guy was then appointed as Bush’s U S Attorney General.

    McCulloch, like Mel Carnahan and the present govenor, is a democrat. I suspect this invitation to speak at the law school where the Dean was a past special council to a democratic governor was an attempt to try and rebrand McCulloch and the political party he serves.

    As in most actions connected to Brown’s killing, this one has also backfired.

    2016 looms large.

  4. We’d have been better off with a dead guy as our AG rather than John “I better dress that naked statue” Ashcroft, Blouise.

  5. buckaroo says:

    “There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.”
    — Alexis de Tocqueville

  6. It’s really funny when the Libertarians or Baggers trot out de Tocqueville as some kind of rationale for their desires when they are as partisan as the parties they bemoan. If you really want to twist up a pol (of just about any persuasion) be an issues voter and ignore organized political platforms as a guide for voting in toto. But it is particularly funny when someone who said this:

    2014/09/12 at 8:53 pm

    “I don’t understand ? Who do you think is Quarterbacking this Ship of State – the one in the Whitehouse or the screamers in the bleachers. I don’t pay taxes to have a Nation run by plebiscite.”

    Cites the man who said this:

    “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith.”

    And . . .

    “Men cannot abandon their religious faith without a kind of aberration of intellect and a sort of violent distortion of their true nature; they are invincibly brought back to more pious sentiments. Unbelief is an accident, and faith is the only permanent state of mankind.”

    Which puts ol’ Alexis squarely in the camp of theocrats. Yeah, yeah, I know. Alexis de Tocqueville is considered one of the greats of his time, but a lot of what he said is primitive juvenile tedious twaddle. Which would make it not only funny but ironic considering the LP’s devotion to the Queen of Juvenile Tedious Twaddle, the Beloved of Egotists and Anarchists Everywhere – Ayn Rand.

    Really, buckaroo. If you’re going to troll with quotes, you should at least be familiar with the works you quote instead of relying on Brainy Quotes or some such site. You cite a guy who would have been perfectly happy with a theist form of government and expect his non-contextual quotes to be accepted as some kind of deep wisdom as if the readers of this site are as unread as the Baggers you play to.

    They are not.

    And while we’re on tedious self-serving twaddle, it’s not completely off topic to note that I also find “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald to be one of the worst novels ever written in any language.

  7. gbk says:

    Twaddle — what a great word!!

  8. Bob Kauten says:

    I admit that I didn’t understand what
    “There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle.”
    had to do with the subject, anyway.
    Damn, after thinking about it, I still don’t.

    “Considering McCulloch’s invitation to speak at St. Louis University, how much chucked wood would a wood duck duck, if a wood duck would duck chucked wood?”
    -Bob Kauten

  9. gbk says:


    Don’t you mean “chuck” in most of places you use “duck”?

    Obviously, a referendum is needed.

  10. nivico says:

    “McCulloch and two assistants, Kathy Alizadeh and Sheila Whirley, also currently face a disciplinary complaint alleging that they provided grand jurors with improper instructions on the legal standards for use of force by police.”

    Just a quick reminder, this ‘complaint’ was filed by a bankruptcy attorney who had her license to practice law suspended back in 2007 (for exploiting and scheming to defraud an elderly client) and who now holds a grudge against the Missouri Bar.

    Her questionable ethics and motives aside, it should be noted that her area of legal expertise and experience is with civil bankruptcy proceedings, not criminal proceedings and grand juries.


    The head of an advocacy group who signed an ethics complaint filed Monday against St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch was suspended from legal practice for three years in 2007, court records show.

    Christi Griffin, now head of the Ethics Project, committed misconduct, failed to properly communicate with a client and violated rules prohibiting lawyers from entering business transactions that present a conflict of interest, according to the Missouri Supreme Court findings.

    The Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel said it was a scheme to profit from a 2003 real estate transaction involving a client in bankruptcy.

    Griffin told a reporter Tuesday she had competently represented the client but that officials “just tried to railroad me.” She claimed evidence was hidden in her case and it proves “corruption took place in the legal system.”

  11. To which I respond, “So what?”

    Griffin’s past has nothing to do with the merits of her filing. Merits you and others happy with getting their desired outcome from manifestly manipulated grand jury proceedings conveniently don’t seem to adequately address. Ever. Ad hominem much?

    That was a rhetorical question.

  12. nivico says:

    “Griffin’s past has nothing to do with the merits of her filing.”

    Ok, let’s talk about the ‘merits’ of her complaint, lol.

    She writes that “We need to know what exactly the grand jurors were presented with.”

    We could stop right there since she admits she doesn’t even have actual information with which to base her allegations on, but it would be a shame to not mention that she then hilariously goes on to cite The Daily Kos and other media outlets as her ‘proof.’

    Click to access mcculloch-disciplinary-complaint.pdf

  13. Yeah, she mentions DK because she cites it to their precise language to characterize the error made by the prosecution. This was unnecessary and both lazy and poor draftsmanship on her part, but not a fatal flaw. Unlike your blatant lie of “goes on to cite The Daily Kos and other media outlets as her ‘proof'” which is a fatal flaw in your semi-literate mockery. She follows up with the correct legal cite to back her assertions as well as referring to specifics from the transcript to illustrate the violations in question. This is the pattern time and again in the document: Poorly borrowed characterization followed by rules, cites and testamentary examples. The weakest part of the complaint is the suborning perjury section due in no small part to Missouri lacking a well-defined statute regarding either criminal or civil subornation. If they did, there would probably be a good argument to made for criminal charges against McCulloch and his team. While not the most professionally written complaint, it nonetheless has substance. While I could personally write a better complaint in my sleep, it would still hit the high points addressed therein albeit with a better turn of phrase.

    See, it helps to actually understand what you are reading when you choose to be critical of it rather than latching on to superficiality while thinking you know what you are talking about. It’s okay though. Lots of people think they are lawyers because they’ve watched Law & Order a few times.

    So let’s talk about your ability to read.

    Lack of comprehension seems to be a given.

  14. Gene,
    It may surprise some, but there are a number of actual lawyers who write diaries and comments on Daily Kos. Kos himself is a law school grad. Some of the lawyers who write on Daily Kos may be familiar names. For example, Elizabeth Warren, Alan Grayson and Adam Bonin. Then there is that Daily Kos member….what’s his name…..lawyer by the name of Barack Obama.

    There are a number of others who are practicing lawyers who need to remain anonymous; including one well known environmental lawyer, plus more than a few prosecutors as well as public defenders.

  15. Bob Stone says:

    “She follows up with the correct legal cite to back her assertions as well as referring to specifics from the transcript to illustrate the violations in question.”

    Just out of curiosity, what portion of the Rules of Professional Conduct is she relying on for this one?

    “Suborning Perjured Testimony. Despite a subsequent interview in which McCulloch attempts to minimize the import of knowingly submitting false testimony to the Grand Jury in order to protect himself from criticism, he had an obligation as the prosecuting attorney to adhere to the Rules of Professional Ethics as they pertain to presenting false testimony as well as an obligation under the Rules to present the best and most accurate case to the Grand Jury. His “dump truck” method of literally dumping thousands of pages of interviews, evidence and testimony without any direction from his office had the effect, lf not intent, of confounding them with massive amounts of conflicting evidence.


  16. Bob Stone says:

    “[McCulloch] admits to calling witnesses whom he said “clearly lied” to the grand jury. One such witness has been identified as Sandra McElroy, a “bipolar Missouri woman with a criminal past who has a history of making racist remarks and once insinuated herself into another high-profile St. Louis criminal case with claims that police eventually dismissed as a ‘complete fabrication.’” She claimed to have seen Brown charge at Wilson, a claim that could neither be confirmed nor denied by the forensic evidence.”

    Since McCulloch made a commitment to put all of the evidence before the grand jury, to show no bias, the petitioner would have to show that Witness 40 had a material effect on the outcome.

    Since the prosecutors and members of the grand jury destroyed Witness 40 during her second appearance on November 3rd, she necessarily did not have a material effect on the outcome.

    However witness 40 was just one of nine (9) witnesses that admitted to providing false claims.

    Petitioner makes no mention of witnesses 22, 35, 37, 41, 42, 45, 46, and 57; all of which admitted to making false claims.

    Does this give rise to an ethics problem for petitioner; seeing she’s only concerned with the presentation of witnesses that lied for Wilson and not for Brown?

  17. nivico says:

    “It may surprise some, but there are a number of actual lawyers who write diaries and comments on Daily Kos.”

    If only the author of the complaint was citing an actual lawyer, Chuck… no, the “numerous commentators and journalists” she is citing is actually just one lone self-proclaimed “Tweeter – Blogger – Musician” who posted something she read on Daily Kos.

  18. nivico,
    Can you locate the diary or comment your referenced quote came from? I would be interested in knowing who made the quote, and if the writer linked to a credible source. For instance, relevant case law. If it is factual and accurate, I don’t care if it was quoted by a local barber or street musician. Facts is facts.

  19. Elaine M. says:

    Off topic–but on the subject of Ferguson:

    Ferguson Mayor: Governor Refused National Guard Deployment Amid Unrest

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The mayor of Ferguson said Wednesday that he had tried in vain to urge Gov. Jay Nixon to deploy the National Guard in his town as people burned and looted buildings in protest of a grand jury’s decision in the Michael Brown case.

    Mayor James Knowles III was the lead witness as a Missouri legislative committee began hearing testimony on why the National Guard was not quickly deployed in Ferguson on Nov. 24, when grand jurors opted not to charge officer Darren Wilson, who is white, for fatally shooting the black 18-year-old.

    Nixon declared a state of emergency a week before the grand jury decision and had said the National Guard would be available to help local authorities “protect life and property” in case protests turned violent, as they did after Brown was shot Aug. 9

    Knowles said he originally was told by St. Louis County police that the Guard would be available to protect the Ferguson police and fire departments and City Hall when the grand jury’s decision was announced. But Knowles said the county police chief later told him the Guard would not be there, because of a decision by the governor.

    When protesters began destroying property on Nov. 24, Knowles said he tried unsuccessfully to call two Nixon staff members. He said he then reached out to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and state Treasurer Clint Zweifel for help in urging the governor to send in the National Guard. Knowles said it was his understanding that they also were unsuccessful.

  20. Bob Stone says:

    “Can you locate the diary or comment your referenced quote came from?”


    It comes from this:

    Missouri AG confirms Michael Brown grand jury misled by St. Louis DA


    For starters the title is a lie; since the AG made no such claim or confirmation about McCulloch.

    Furthermore, this passage cited in the complaint:

    “Either the St. Louis County District Attorney’s Office was aware of this conflict and deliberately attempted to give the Grand Jury a false impression of the law, only to slip in a unclear, unexplained “correction” at the last minute which would be far too weak to override the prevailing impression gained from weeks of testimony which had been reviewed through a jaundiced lens… ”

    is also a load of crap.

    First, if the prosecution was intentionally trying to mislead the grand jury, they would have spoon fed the grand jury that law instead of just handing it out along with other materials one day.

    Second, the author cites the AG, not confirming McCulloch misled the Grand Jury, but explaining how the grand jury was given the incorrect law:

    “Among the problems tha (sic) Ferguson has brought to light is the need to update Missouri’s use of deadly force statute. This statute is inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s holding in Tennessee v. Garner. Consequently, it is important this statutue (sic) be amended by the Missouri legislature to incorporate the Garner decision to avoid confusion in the criminal justice system”

    Chris Koster
    Missouri Attorney General

    Third, the mistake was remedied before deliberations.

    And finally, the fact pattern made the law in question completely inapplicable.

    The fact pattern clearly showed that Officer Wilson did not “reasonably [believe]that such use of deadly force [was] immediately necessary to effect the arrest and also reasonably [believed] that the person to be arrested (a) has committed or attempted to commit a felony”

    Because the fact pattern made this rule applicable:

    City of Ferguson Police Department’s use of force policy (section 410.01) states:

    “An officer may use lethal force only when the officer reasonably believes that the action is in defense of human life, including the officer’s own life.”

  21. nivico says:

    “While not the most professionally written complaint, it nonetheless has substance.”

    You keep saying it has “substance” and “merit” but you never give any precise examples.

    In fact, you seem to be making my point for me that her complaint is a joke and shouldn’t be taken seriously because any lawyer worth his salt could draft a better complaint in his sleep.

    But hey, I’d love to hear you explain the ‘substance’ and ‘merits’ of her claiming that McCulloch violated Rule 4-3.4: Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel… because maybe I just haven’t watched enough Law & Order, but, ummmm, what opposing party and counsel?

    And how about explaining the ‘substance’ and ‘merits’ of her claiming that McCulloch violated Rule 4-1.8: Conflict of Interest: Prohibited Transactions … maybe it’s just my pea-sized brain’s inability to comprehend, but, ummmm, what privileged business or financial information did McCulloch use to the disadvantage of his client? Heck, for that matter, ummmm, what client?

  22. Bob Stone says:


    Don’t forget


    Because a grand jury is not a tribunal.

    (m) “Tribunal” denotes a court, an arbitrator in a binding arbitration proceeding, or a legislative body, administrative agency, or other body acting in an adjudicative capacity. A legislative body, administrative agency, or other body acts in an adjudicative capacity when a neutral official, after the presentation of evidence or legal argument by a party or parties, will render a binding legal decision directly affecting a party’s interests in a particular matter.


  23. Bob,

    If you’d bother to read what I said, you’d see I addressed the suborning perjury matter. As for “a grand jury is not a tribunal”, you’ve hung yourself out to dry because that is the essence of part of the complaint (albeit and as noted poorly drafted): that McCulloch and his stooges usurped the role of the court (a tribunal) by effectively proffering what constitutes an affirmative defense. I’m going to tell you this one more time in the blind hope it sinks in: the place to offer an affirmative defense is in court. You also keep prattling on and on about how Wilson was justified in shooting Brown when the forensic evidence doesn’t make that a concrete determination. Unless, of course, you insist on reading it with a eye toward outcome determinism. Was there a struggle at the car? Yes there was. Had Brown surrendered when Wilson shot him? Which, let’s face it, is the heart of the matter? Inconclusive. And what evidence McCulloch’s people offered on that matter was McElroy’s testimony. And don’t give me that bullshit about “it was corrected”. I know entirely too much about how you manipulate people by how you frame false information and how you can make that false impression stick even after technical correction. If you don’t think this is a problem read this: http://www.law.indiana.edu/instruction/tanford/b546/Ethics.html

    Gyrate all you like about the ethics complaint. I’ve stipulated it is poorly written. I’ll even state it is so poorly written I feel a bit sorry for Griffin. Once again you want to change the subject which isn’t the complaint proper but the free speech issue around McCulloch’s St. Louis University appearance and the reaction of students and staff. I expect such pedantic tactics from someone like nivico. Deliberately changing the subject to distract from the person or subject under scrutiny is a troll tactic. “Let’s talk about AGW. ‘No, let’s talk about nuclear waste.'” That you wish to follow that tack is simply par for the course on this matter given your dog issues. However, and read this real careful, the subject of this column is NOT McCulloch. It’s the actions of the students and faculty of St. Louis University.

    If I had wanted to write a column about what an ethically challenged douche I think McCulloch is, that’s a column I’m perfectly capable of writing. It’d be a damn sight better than Griffin’s efforts too. But that isn’t what I wrote about. Is it?

    If you have something of substance to say on the free speech matter, I’m interested in hearing it. Otherwise, not so much. I’ve already heard your biased bleating about Wilson’s “innocence” and McCulloch’s “prosecutorial discretion”, Bob (which he could have excised without the shield of political plausible deniability of a grand jury). Bleating that went so far as for you to call me, personally, a liar by implication if not outright. After which, when confronted about that implication, you promised you’d never speak to me again on this matter. I see how that worked out, oh dog with a bone. So unless you have something to say about the free speech matter? I think you can guess what you’re cordially invited to do.

  24. Bob,
    Thanks for that link. I missed it, but after reading through about half the comments, that diary is clear on a couple of points. First, I don’t think the diarist himself is an attorney. Second, he is reporting on a Lawrence O’Donnell program commentary, and like most political pundits, O’Donnell is sometimes guilty of a bit of hyperbole. Of course, real attorneys NEVER stoop to using hyperbole in opening or closing statements. 😀

    Having said that, the article seems to have generated a vigorous debate about the meaning of portions of the piece. Some of the users who are attorneys or work in the legal system explain what it means to them. Often, one finds better information in the comments section than in a diary itself. That is true of most blogs. The interesting part of a well run blog comes when people can debate civilly and vigorously without being attacked personally. Of course, some blogs go the opposite direction.

    • Mike Spindell says:

      One of the ways that one can perceive someone aware of the fact that they are championing a point of view that is logically flawed, but which they are emotionally attached to, is to see their continued response when their view has prevailed against all logic. An indication of such a situation may well be present here regarding McCulloch and Ferguson. The side doggedly supporting the police has had the outcome desired. The officer was “exonerated”, the protesters were demonized via the media by focusing on the actions of a few, while ignoring the legitimate complaints of the many and police have been empowered to continue their rampage against citizens of color. From the standpoint of the victorious, why beat a dead horse?. Yet they do and I personally conclude that it is a matter of a guilty conscience on the part of the more perceptive, yet emotionally biased among the “defenders” of justice”. After all they’ve won their Pyrrhic victory
      against the rule of law.

      Some may ask how can a logically flawed position become victorious? The reality is that it happens all them time, see last years election for substantiation. Incidentally, as Gene mentioned, the topic of this thread was about whether the calls to cancel McCulloch’s speech was an issue of denial of the freedom of speech at a University, or a righteous protest of injustice. This was an issue I commented on earlier in this thread.

  25. nivico says:

    Bob Stone…

    There’s also Comment 5 from the American Bar Association regarding Rule 3.3 Candor Toward the Tribunal:

    “[5] Paragraph (a)(3) requires that the lawyer refuse to offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false, regardless of the client’s wishes. This duty is premised on the lawyer’s obligation as an officer of the court to prevent the trier of fact from being misled by false evidence. A lawyer does not violate this Rule if the lawyer offers the evidence for the purpose of establishing its falsity.”

    Which was adopted by and is mirrored in Missouri’s own Comment 5 regarding Rule 4-3.3 Candor Toward the Tribunal:

    [5] Rule 4-3.3(a)(3) requires that the lawyer refuse to offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false, regardless of the client’s wishes. This duty is premised on the lawyer’s obligation as an officer of the court to prevent the trier of fact from being misled by false evidence. A lawyer does not violate Rule 4-3.3(a)(3) if the lawyer offers the evidence for the purpose of establishing its falsity


    Hopefully the 3L at St. Louis University who was quoted as saying “One of the first things we learn is you don’t put a witness on the stand that you know is lying.” has since been corrected by her professors and taught the second truism of law… there are always exceptions.

  26. blouise says:

    “The Thin Blue Line: Policing Post-Ferguson.”

    “This year’s Public Law Review Symposium will address the legal and societal challenges placed on the justice system in our world post-Ferguson. Today’s law enforcement officials face new hurdles in an era marked by social media, smart phones, a 24-hour news cycle, citizen journalists and a growing divide between local police and the people they are called to serve. With the world’s attention turned on Ferguson, Mo., critique of law enforcement procedure, tactics and subsequent prosecution procedures is at an all-time high. Through hosting panels on Policing the Protests and Policing the Police, “The Thin Blue Line: Policing Post-Ferguson” will identify legal challenges that face law enforcement on the streets today. This year’s event will bring together academics, law enforcement officers and practitioners to engage in a candid discussion of the changing environment in which our justice system is closely examined.”

    McCulloch is the keynote/kickoff speaker and registration is now closed as capacity of venue has been reached.

    (Right off the bat it will be interesting to note if they allow cell phone recordings by citizen journalists during the individual presentations and “candid discussion”.)

    Since this is a symposium on the legal/societal challenges placed on the justice system today, it will be fascinating to hear McCulloch thread his yesterdays’ challenges into the fabric of today’s realities.

    The keynote speaker sets the scene for the symposium. Will McCulloch be able to do so with directness and lucidity or will the conference waters be muddied by self-promotion?

    Time will tell. At least it will be well attended.

  27. nivico says:

    “The interesting part of a well run blog comes when people can debate civilly and vigorously without being attacked personally.”

    …unfortunately, even well run blogs have a tendency to turn a blind eye to such behavior when it is coming from one of their own and is being directed at those perceived as ‘others’ or interlopers.

  28. “Hopefully the 3L at St. Louis University who was quoted as saying ‘One of the first things we learn is you don’t put a witness on the stand that you know is lying.’ has since been corrected by her professors and taught the second truism of law… there are always exceptions.”

    Again illustrating a lack of contextual understanding. Were this a grand jury involving some crime where truthfulness was a key component such as fraud, then placing a witness in a position of cross to prove they are lying or making inconsistent statements that could be construed as lying, then that would be appropriate. However, this is not the case here. A liar with a history of both lying and racial bias was put on the stand and initially presented as a valid witness (someone attesting to the truth of the matter at hand), later “correction” notwithstanding, such an action can be construed as subornation of perjury by the common law definition at worst and malfeasance of office at best. None of which changes that there is no proper adverse cross in a grand jury. It’s the prosecutor’s show. McElroy’s testimony was framed initially as valid, creating a false impression not easily undone especially in an environment where the target group is being inundated with ancillary information. In such an atmosphere, on the fly corrections are harder to make simply as a matter of human psychology. The GJ was geared and steered toward processing information based on veracity. Once labeled as such, corrections may and usually do require multiple reinforcements to take hold in their thinking.

    McCulloch is an elected official and ergo a politician first. He had the option of simply refusing to charge but as previously noted elsewhere that decision would have come with a realpolitik consequence: his career. But manipulating a grand jury to get a desired outcome provided plausible deniability. “If you don’t like the decision not to prosecute? It’s not my fault. Look at the grand jury.” Consider the following as well:

    ST. LOUIS (AP) — A member of the grand jury that declined to indict a Ferguson police officer in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown contends in a lawsuit filed Monday that the prosecutor in the case has wrongly implied that all 12 jurors believed there was no evidence to support charges.

    The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of the unnamed juror, who wants to be allowed to talk publicly about the case but could face charges for doing so because of a lifetime gag order. The juror also says he or she came away with the impression that evidence was presented differently than in other cases, with the insinuation that Brown, not Officer Darren Wilson, was the wrongdoer. No grand jurors have spoken publicly about the case.”

    At least one juror feels they were manipulated to such a degree that it merits bringing suit.

    If the victim of a material misrepresentation(s) steps forward, even if after the fact, to question the proceedings as presented in the press and as the case was presented to them in situ, then perhaps there is a fire to go along with the smoke signals of prosecutorial misconduct.

    But again, that is not the topic of this column.

    The topic of this column is the free speech issue surrounding the upcoming St. Louis University speaking engagement.

    Further attempts to highjack this thread to make it about something else are not likely to be well tolerated.

  29. Bob Stone says:

    “you promised you’d never speak to me again on this matter.”


    You’re absolutely right. I did swear that I’d never discuss this issue again with you because I value our friendship more than the discussion.

    I sincerely apologize for my posts at February 11, 2015 at 9:51 pm and February 12, 2015 at 12:54 am.

    You may delete them if you like.

  30. nivico,

    If you don’t like the way this blog is run, you are reminded that your participation here is voluntary. The rules here are explicitly set up to allow the flexibility to deal with trolls. In relevant part, Rule 1 states:

    If disruptive behavior (or inherently disruptive or dishonest trollish behavior – flooding/spamming, manufacturing false consensus, deflection, etc.) becomes a persistent problem and disrupts the peace and utility of the commons that are the threads? You will be warned. You might get a time out. You might get banned. This soiree has (very minimal) rules and bouncers. Agreement is not required. Argument is a cornerstone of the marketplace of ideas. You will not run afoul of this rule for simply having and voicing an unpopular opinion. A good rule of thumb is DBAD.

    Since you have a pronounced habit of trollish behavior as exemplified by your attempts to deliberately steer this thread off topic, you might count yourself a beneficiary of my tolerance instead of simply bitching when called on your behavior. Consider how you move forward with care. This is a moderated blog and unlike other blogs, we don’t lie about its parameters and hide behind a subjective standard masquerading as an objective standard. Your agreement on any given topic here is not required, but my patience and munificence concerning trollery tactics – which includes deliberately trying to steer threads off topic (a form of misdirection which is in turn a form of deflection) – are not even close to infinite.


    Apology accepted.

  31. Bob Stone says:

    ” The interesting part of a well run blog comes when people can debate civilly and vigorously without being attacked personally. Of course, some blogs go the opposite direction.”


    I wasn’t attacking the Daily Kos, I was merely commenting on the idiocy of the complaint (and that particular article.)

    Sherilynn A. Ifill of the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund didn’t do much better.

    When the court administrator, Mr. Paul Fox, denied their request for relief, the N.A.A.C.P.L.D.F. Website said:

    On January 12th, 2015, LDF received a letter from Paul Fox, the Director of Judicial Administration at the 21st Circuit Court, in response to our request. Mr. Fox, citing the Missouri Code of Judicial Conduct and a desire to avoid compromising the court’s participation in potential litigation related to the grand jury proceedings, explained that “there will not be any comment or response by the Presiding Judge.” LDF has sought further clarification of Mr. Fox’s response.


    Mr. Fox couldn’t have been more clear about one of the most basic rules of civil procedure; i.e. that you don’t seek relief from judges in the form of a simple letter submitted ex parte:

    “The Code of Judicial Conduct prohibits a judge from initiating, permitting or considering an ex parte communications or communications outside the presence of the parties or their lawyers concerning a pending or impending matter. Missouri Code of Judicial Conduct 2-2.9. Your letter advocates legal positions and contains interpretations of the law. In addition, you seek affirmative relief, but your letter is not in the form of a legal pleading and no adverse party is listed or served in accordance with Missouri law. The legal issues raised in your letter, if properly brought before the Court, may have to be resolved by litigation. Judicial rulings are issued after full consideration is given to the issues raised and all parties needed for a just adjudication are afforded the opportunity to participate.

    The Judge, of course, is a member of the judicial branch and is required to handle matters in accordance with the law and pursuant to proper legal procedures. If a Judge commented on or acted on your letter, the response could be used to disqualify the Judge in a future hearing. In other words, the Judge could be accused of prejudging a matter. Judges speak on legal issues through orders and judgments. Therefore, there will not be any comment or response by the Presiding Judge to your letter to avoid compromising the future ability of the Judge to properly hear and rule on litigation in a fair and impartial manner. It is my hope that you understand and respect the Court’s position.”


  32. Bob sez: “I wasn’t attacking the Daily Kos…”
    I know you weren’t. However, nivico did so indirectly by intimating that because a quote came from DKos, it was automatically suspect without further inspection. That was an observation thrown out as a generality. Mainly aimed at those who would dismiss a blog post out of hand, simply because of where it was posted.

  33. I had missed that announcement, Bob. And although I think she was right when she said:

    “Our review of these proceedings has raised grave legal concerns, including knowing presentation of false witness testimony, erroneous instructions on the law, and preferential treatment of Mr. Wilson by the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. These and other issues raise questions about the integrity of the process and the lawfulness of the prosecutors’ conduct. This process sets a bad precedent for our judicial system and diminishes the high standard that stewards of the law are supposed to uphold,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF’s President and Director-Counsel.”

    I have to agree with Mr. Fox’s position vis a vis potential future litigation. The NAACP had a tactical misfire in asking for what amounts to an ex parte ruling instead of proceeding directly to litigation.

  34. That being said, this column is still about free speech and St. Louis University.

  35. blouise says:

    Sponsors of the symposium and thus the group that issued the invitations to speakers:

    “Public Law Review (SLU LAW)

    Established as a “specialty journal” to address legal issues of public interest and public policy, the purpose of the Public Law Review is to provide an open and uncensored forum for legal scholars, practicing attorneys, legislators, and public interest advocates to debate current topics that are significant in the area of public interest law. The Public Law Review is a student-edited publication that publishes two issues per year, one of which is based on a symposium held at SLU LAW.

    I would very much like to read that publication when it is issued. Let’s keep it in mind as a follow-up to this thread.

  36. Blouise,

    I’ll note that. They do publish the PLR online, but there appears to be a substantive lag between print and .pdf versions (only the first 2014 publication is currently online).

  37. blouise says:


    Why not send them an email?

  38. nivico says:

    “I know you weren’t. However, nivico did so indirectly by intimating that because a quote came from DKos, it was automatically suspect without further inspection.”

    I just found it beyond ridiculous that she was quoting a blog as a credible ‘authority’ on the matter in a formal complaint to the Missouri Bar… I don’t care if the blog post was written by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court himself, it wouldn’t be controlling authority.

    If she wants to present opinions that agree with and bolster her position, those opinions need to come from case law not the blogosphere, the media, or Twitter.

    • Mike Spindell says:

      What I find ridiculous is the idea that a Prosecutor would put a “witness” he knew was lying on the stand in the interest of fairness. However, moving from the ridiculous to the sublime are those who would defend this Prosecutor’s doing so, as an example of impartiality.

  39. Blouise,

    I’m going to look into what it takes to get a hard copy. From the site, it looks like all you need to do is ask.

  40. blouise says:

    Excellent. I am interested in the opinions of law students who were present at the conference and would much rather see the product they produce rather than depend on someone else’s interpretation of said publication.

  41. nivico says:

    “Since you have a pronounced habit of trollish behavior as exemplified by your attempts to deliberately steer this thread off topic…”

    1) There is a distinct difference between trolling and simply posting an opposing viewpoint.

    2) I’m addressing issues that were specifically raised in the article… the only thing steering the discussion off topic is your constant personal attacks and frothing at the mouth toward those of us who dared to point out that the complaint you cited is a steaming pile of horse manure written by an imbecile.

  42. “1) There is a distinct difference between trolling and simply posting an opposing viewpoint. ”

    Yeah. There is. Perhaps you should learn it.

    “2) I’m addressing issues that were specifically raised in the article…”

    No, you’re not. You’re not addressing the conference at all or the free speech issues around it.

    Perhaps you need a vacation. Try me again. See how it works out for you.

  43. Bob Stone says:


    In the interest of fairness, the only poster here that consistently stayed on topic is Blouise.

    I’m thinking about writing a post about how proud I am about getting banned from a site called Ethics Alarms because of my comments here


    It all started when the blog’s owner, Jack Marshall, a man who refers to himself as a “professional ethicist,” continually mocked me for referring to the outcome in Bush v. Gore as “irrelevant.”

    After citing several legal reasons why the Court lacked the power to exercise jurisdiction over the matter, he continued to insist that Democrats were committing a “Big Lie” by proclaiming that Bush stole the election.

    My point, as you know by now, was that procedure and separation of powers was paramount to any outcome. In a post that he later deleted I said:

    Jack Marshall: “Bob’s use of “relevant” had the earmarks of an intergalactic translator on the fritz.”

    Me: “If one were to claim that the outcome of the presidential election was “relevant” or “material” or “germane” to the legal analysis in Bush v. Gore, ETHICALLY SPEAKING, we’d refer to that person as lacking something called OBJECTIVITY.

    And of course, since you can dish out those insults but not take them, I’m sure you’ll delete this post as well.”


    Meanwhile, about 150 comments later, the entire thread is still completely off topic.

    • Mike Spindell says:

      So here I was recovering from minor surgery today by watching some favorite TV shows American Idol and Project Runway All-Stars and lo and behold a new name appears on this thread with a comment by someone named Jack Marshall. He did a number on Bob Stone for having the temerity to disagree with him on Mr. Marshall’s “ethics” blog. Curious I followed a link to Mr. Marshall and discovered he had set himself up as an ethics guru, giving corporate presentations and even testifying as a paid witness at court. The main part of his gig though is giving “ethics” presentations to various businesses, large and small. This is an excerpt from his website proudly presenting a part of one his programs for pay:

      “The Compliance Zone, with Captain Compliance: A popular specialty format is the Compliance Zone, in which a typically boring compliance and ethics presentation is “unexpectedly” interrupted by the masked and costumed Captain Compliance, a caped and masked alien superhero (portrayed by Jack Marshall) who has journeyed from the Compliance Planet to test the ethical culture on Earth. The Captain introduces a Rod Serling-like character who introduces a series of humorous but provocative management scenarios, with the audience being challenged to address multiple decisions with ethical implications. The Compliance Zone, with Captain Compliance and The Ethical Arts Players has been presented more than fifty times across the country, for groups ranging from Altria, the Electronics Industry Association and Computer Associates, to the Veterans Administration. It typically runs between an hour and two hours, and can be a component of longer programs.”

      Now having worked in bureaucracy for many years before my retirement I was forced to attend many a management retreat that would feature this type of feel good, amusing and clever programs, by skilled performers, of which Mr. Marshal is no doubt one. In toto they all were pleasant affairs that did absolutely nothing to effect serious change, but certainly ensured nice remuneration for the program’s presenter. Since I have some good skill in public speaking and can be professionally charming it seemed to me that it could be a damned good way to make some serious money and certainly would be any easy scam to work. Ah but there’s the rub. My own ethics would preclude me from running such a program knowing that this type of program is merely PR fluff that leaves one unchanged at its conclusion, yet with a warm glow of false accomplishment. I note too that Mr. Marshall has been named One of the Top 100 Leaders in Trustworthy Business for 2o14: http://www.trustacrossamerica.com/offerings-thought-leaders-2014.shtml# A perusal of the other 99 “Though Leaders” discloses that many of them are merely PR hacks out for a buck. Appearing on Bill O’Reiily and writing for the American Standard fills out Mr. Marshall’s resume.

      Bob I would actually consider it a badge of honor to be excluded from this ethics huckster’s blog..

  44. Bob, et al,
    A blog comment section going off track? Who would have thunk it? As for Mr. Marshall? Meh!

    We luvs ya here, Bob.

  45. While such an article might be interesting, this is not an analogous situation.

    “Meanwhile, about 150 comments later, the entire thread is still completely off topic.”

    And who is to thank for that, Bob?


    I’ve been more than patient and tried to steer the topic back on course more than once, but you know what Harry Callahan says: “A man’s got to know his limitations.” I know mine. I’m willing to go quite far in pursuit of the free speech ethos. Unlike some (claim to be) though, I’m not an absolutist and the rules here reflect that. This isn’t about difference in opinion or even ethics. This is about tactics. I’ve been quite clear about that. Objectively speaking, I could have deleted nivico’s first comment noted above and been well within the rule. Again, in relevant part, Rule 1 states

    “If disruptive behavior (or inherently disruptive or dishonest trollish behavior – flooding/spamming, manufacturing false consensus, deflection, etc.) becomes a persistent problem and disrupts the peace and utility of the commons that are the threads? You will be warned. You might get a time out. You might get banned.”

    As it is, nivico was given several mild cautions to which he responded in a way that merited a stronger caution. He can desist his trollish tactics or he can be elsewhere. I have no problem with that outcome whatsoever. This playground has rules. What happens next is going to depend on his future action(s).

  46. blouise says:

    …can desist the trollish tactics or can be elsewhere …

    Be there and be square; otherwise you’re just hangin’ ’round.

  47. 1. Filing an ethics complaint does not mean the target is “facing” an ethics complaint: if the bar doesn’t choose to prosecute after investigation, the lawyer faces nothing. And I guarantee McCulloch won’t. And shouldn’t, because he did nothing unethical.

    2. The fact that the lawyer filing the complaint has demonstrated that she doesn’t comprehend (or practice) legal ethics is NOT “ad hominem.” It strongly suggests that there may not be much to the complaint.

    3. Bob Stone is doxxing. Do you permit that here? It’s the epitome of “ad hominem.” The fact that I had a dispute with a couple of bloggers almost five years ago (they were right, I was wrong, I apologized: all of those involved were fair and gracious about it, save one) does not show anything at all, except the character of the commenter, who I threw off my blog because he refused to apologize to me as he apologized to you.

  48. I’m sorry, Jack, but thanks to Bob, I’ve learned enough about you to not really give a damn what you have to say. Have a nice evening. Or piss off. Take your pick.

  49. As an ethicist myself, and student of how language is used for both good and bad, I think it is safe to say I have a pretty good understanding of the neologism “doxxing.” Linking comments to a public web site is not exactly the same as the term as it came to be used by hackers. No private information other than a link to a blog and discussion of dialogue there is hardly doxing by any stretch of the imagination.

  50. Yep.

    As Chuck well knows, most the the a/e’s here (and several of the regular guests) have experience with true doxing. What Bob did wasn’t even close.

  51. Bob Stone says:

    I never heard of “doxxing” until 20 minutes ago.

    Marshall banned me because he refused to consider any facts or arguments that might disturb the lies he’s been telling himself about Bush v. Gore. While he claims that “history should not be permanently warped by strategic lies,” that appears to be the very purpose of his “Big Lie” post.

    I posted links to those articles to provide a Molineux “common plan or scheme” sense of how he operates and structures his “arguments;” i.e. ipse dixit.

    To wit:

    “In fact, at no time did Marshall say he was relying on any obscure state rule. In fact, he disavowed, numerous times, that there was a need to rely on any interpretation, caselaw or otherwise, smacking those who tried to tell him otherwise that they were wrong. They were idiots who didn’t get it like he did, because he was the expert and they were morons. It wasn’t that Marshall just got it wrong, but that he viciously attacked back at every chance.”


    That’s exactly what he did to me.

    He not only resorts to ipse dixit in his own arguments, but he also predicated the Court’s power to hear Bush v. Gore on it as well:

    “I’m not insulting you. You just need to learn what “irrelevant” means. I won’t lay the Montoya quote on you, but it applies. Assuming arguendo that you are correct about process in this case…you’re not, but I don’t care to debate it…a lack of process doesn’t make a result irrelevant.

    This—”In a word, the Court was textually powerless to do anything” — is the 2nd most ridiculous statement I have read today. It obviously had power to do it, because it did it.”

    He didn’t debate me because he lacked so much as a juristic clue how to begin. And his “off-topic” complaint was simply a pretext to justify getting rid of me so as to clear up his echo chamber; evidenced by the 150 or so more “off topic” posts that followed.

    Just read from here down:


  52. Getting back to the original post. I have been giving this lecture thing a lot of thought since it was posted. In fact, this has been a topic of interest to me since I was in grad school and the Vietnam war was in full battle cry. I have long been an advocate of letting the opposition speak, but with one requirement. They have to answer questions from the audience. No ducking out a side door after responding to just a couple of “planted” softball questions from supporters.

    How I came to meet the late unlamented J. B. Stoner is instructive. I was awarded a multi-year Federal grant from the US Department of Education for training the teachers of teachers. In other words, our target was professors of education and psychology who would be teaching professionals. Talk about herding cats! We had a five-day symposium in Atlanta. The audience was made up of an ethnically diverse group of highly educated people. Some of them were department heads and Deans from their respective universities. One of the invited speakers was Mr. Stoner. That was before he was indicted and arrested for the Birmingham church bombing that killed those children. The talk was entitled something to the effect, “A White Racist’s Perspective.” We did not choose the title of the presentation, Stoner did.

    He was greeted with dignity and treated with respect. There was even some restrained applause when he was introduced. He was offensive, and the n-word fell effortlessly from his lips repeatedly. At the end of his prepared presentation he answered questions, including from the black audience members. At the end of the Q&A session, a professor from Florida and I made our way to the front and chatted with him for a time. He was polite and gracious, wanting to talk about IQ differences between whites and blacks. That gave me the opportunity to point out that my associate, the black professor from Florida, probably had a higher IQ than Stoner. His face turned beet-red and his reply was priceless. He sputtered, “That’s not possible.”

    My friend, who is now deceased, laughed in his face, replying, “Not to sound like I am bragging, but I have to agree with Dr. Stanley.” I thought the man’s head was going to explode. Everyone within earshot giggled. That had to smart!

    That was far better than heckling him off the stage, or demanding he not speak in the first place.

  53. blouise says:

    What kind of symposium is this? Have I been victimized by some sort of blogosphere loss leader strategy?

    Good Lord, I haven’t heard of dropping the dox for at least a decade. If I recall it was an old form of online vigilantism now commonly called political research.

    Not quite sure what this has to do with SLU LAW which gets me back to the loss leader.

  54. Chuck,

    I always appreciate a good turn of the dagger tale. 😀

  55. Blouise,

    That’s one form of doxing. The accepted use is a bit broader now. It also includes aiding law enforcement (what some of the alphabet agencies have come under fire for doing), business analysis (often perfectly legal, but sometimes not so much), extortion, coercion and harassment (ala a certain Cheesy, P.I.), and public shaming, often done (as you note) as some form of “vigilante justice”.

  56. Doxing emerged from the hacker community, and made newsworthy by the group Anonymous. They have published personal information, including addresses and phone numbers, of their targets. Most recently doxing was in the news when Anonymous posted personal information about rogue police officers during the Occupy movement.

  57. blouise17 says:


    I’m just an old fashioned Trash 80, desktop boxy Mac girl …. dox away hackers and find that FBI guy who doesn’t even have an office email. The good ol’ wild west internet.

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