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Judge will allow federal suit by grand juror in Darren Wilson case to proceed

Judge will allow federal suit by grand juror in Darren Wilson case to proceed

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Grand Jury does not indict Darren Wilson

St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announces the grand jury's decision on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown. The announcement was at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton. Photo by Cristina Fletes-Boutte, cfletes-boutte@post-dispatch.com

UPDATED June 27 with a comment from Robert McCulloch’s office.

ST. LOUIS • A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a lawsuit filed by a grand juror who considered charges in the 2014 death of Michael Brown may proceed in federal court.

The juror, “Grand Juror Doe,” originally sued in January 2015, seeking a judge’s permission to speak about what is, by law, a secret process. But U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel dismissed the lawsuit four months later, saying it should have been filed in state court, where the grand jury was impaneled and where their oath was administered.

An appeals court then said Sippel should have put it on hold, while the case was heard in state court. The juror’s lawsuit there failed, as did an appeal.

The juror moved to re-open the case in U.S. District Court in St. Louis in April. Sippel’s ruling Tuesday said that Doe’s First Amendment claims had not been addressed in the state court suit.

The original suit says the juror wanted permission to publicly challenge St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch’s claim that grand jurors were unanimous in their decision not to charge former Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in Brown’s death on Aug. 9, 2014. Doe also wanted to “advocate for legislative change” of the grand jury process and speak with relatives about the case, the suit says.

A spokesman said Wednesday that McCulloch never claimed to know the outcome of the grand jury's vote on any criminal charges being considered.

Related to this story

June 26, 2018 ruling that will allow a federal lawsuit filed by a former grand juror in the Michael Brown case to proceed.

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