LIONEL PODCAST: Why the Professional Left Is Clueless As to Ferguson, Darren Wilson and Grand Juries Inter Alia

The left left a long time ago. The prototypical leftie cannot fathom any possibility that Darren Wilson was not indicted, that no true bill was rendered, that he’s not cracking rocks upstate or in the Greybar Inn for any reason other than institutional corruption and/or judicial putrescence. They simply can’t. They’ve signed on to the trope that the fix is in, that McCulloch gamed the system and that any chance for justice has left the station. For it seems that these juridical autodidacts and overnight Internet Perry Mason wannabes have gotten it through their thickened Neanderthal crania that justice hasn’t been served here and it must be because this untethered and out of control prosecutor and/or this racist system have struck again. Where were they I ask when runaway grand juries were working overtime in indicting ham sandwiches à la Wachtler like the swing shift at the Carnegie? No, the refrain is that Mad Dog McCulloch gummed up the juridacture works and plied the jurors grand with mountains of data, reports, witnesses and labyrinthine testimony and they were plumb tuckered out and threw in the towel. That’s their story and there sticking to it, I reckon.

Missouri is to the grand jury process what Florida is to the electoral. First, just what is the grand jury anyway? Well, Jethro, I’m glad you asked. To put it succinctly, no one knows. No, seriously. It’s a funky kinda outboard tribunal of whacky star chamber outliers that can serve as an investigative as well as accusatory body but is basically the indentured bitch of the prostituter, er, prosecutor. (I’m not kidding.)

Somebody wake Nino. In United States v. Williams 504 U.S. 36 (1992), Mr. Justice Scalia delivered the majority opinion and in part noted thusly as to the tenuous and rather fascinating role of the tendentious little brother to Torquemada. Read this beaut, the highlighted in particular. After all, that’s why they’re highlighted.

“[R]ooted in long centuries of Anglo American history,” Hannah v. Larche, 363 U.S. 420, 490 (1960) (Frankfurter, J., concurring in result), the grand jury is mentioned in the Bill of Rights, but not in the body of the Constitution. It has not been textually assigned, therefore, to any of the branches described in the first three Articles. It ” `is a constitutional fixture in its own right.’ ” United States v. Chanen, 549 F. 2d 1306, 1312 (CA9) (quoting Nixon v. Sirica, 159 U.S. App. D.C. 58, 70, n. 54, 487 F. 2d 700, 712, n. 54 (1973)), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 825 (1977). In fact the whole theory of its function is that it belongs to no branch of the institutional government, serving as a kind of buffer or referee between the Government and the people. See Stirone v. United States, 361 U.S. 212, 218 (1960); Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S. 43, 61 (1906); G. Edwards, The Grand Jury 28-32 (1906). Although the grand jury normally operates, of course, in the courthouse and under judicial auspices, its institutional relationship with the judicial branch has traditionally been, so to speak, at arm’s length. Judges’ direct involvement in the functioning of the grand jury has generally been confined to the constitutive one of calling the grand jurors together and administering their oaths of office. See United States v. Calandra, 414 U.S. 338, 343 (1974); Fed. Rule Crim. Proc. 6(a). [e.s.]

Huh? Did you dig that? (1) It belongs to no branch of the “institutional government” and (2) its relationship to the courts is “at arm’s length.” WTF, indeed. Translation: They be on their own. So let me return to the initial point that was made, how can the archetypal left rant and rail anent and against the grand jury in the case sub judice when even Nino has nary a clue of what they do and are? Because it’s nothing to do with fact but feeling and fad.

Bless their hearts. Think Progress in the subject of inspiring a hugely cited social media Twitter meme sequence likewise cites Scalia in Williams:” [N]either in this country nor in England has the suspect under investigation by the grand jury ever been thought to have a right to testify or to have exculpatory evidence presented.” And from this they took this to indict the Ferguson grand jury and Wild Man McCulloch. What a stretch. But that’s the essence and politics of the left-right paradigm. Not to mention, they simply have no idea of what the feck they’re talking about.

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