On KFXK Fox 51: We have grand juries for a reason.

There’s more to the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution than the right to remain silent. In its very first sentence the Amendment says: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury.”

That sentence is a core protection. A government prosecutor has an enormous amount of power. The founders recognized that where government has power, there exists the potential – if not the inevitability – of abuse.

A malicious prosecution, which would include a prosecution brought as the result of inflamed public opinion, would likely be ruinous to the accused even if in the end the verdict turned out to be not guilty.

In the case of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, an indictment followed by a criminal trial would have surely resulted in his bankruptcy and the likely end of his career even if he was ultimately acquitted.

In the wake of officer Wilson’s no-bill from the grand jury, many in the commentariat are saying that it would have been better if he had been indicted and brought to trial. That way, goes the reasoning, even if ultimately exonerated, the exoneration would have been easier for the “community” to accept.

This is flatly wrong. Such a proceeding would have then been a show trial and show trials are among the very evils that the Fifth Amendment is intended to prevent.

In the absence of probable cause to believe that he committed a crime, which the grand jury did not find, Officer Wilson’s constitutional liberties are absolute. And they trump any abstract notions about what is or isn’t good for the “community.”


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Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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3 Responses

  1. P Lewis says:

    The problem of ” why a Grand Jury” just shows how far away from the Constitution we, as a Nation, have slid.

    I am familiar with a Grand Jury & its parameter of truth compared to a Court trial but it appears that the majority of US citizens are not.

    This just is another example of the humanism approach the our educational system has been on for many years.

    People should be glad that our Court system worked in spite of immense pressure not to work.

    This Grand Jury needs applause & kudos.

    I, for one, will give that to them.

  2. R. Eagleman says:

    Many of the same people who are screaming for an indictment and trial are the same ones who were screaming in celebration when the murderer, O.J. Simpson, was acquitted. It is shameful for our country and our law enforcement to allow such uncivilized and criminal behavior by a group of spoiled brats to demonstrate their displeasure at the outcome of the lawful grand jury proceedings. When I saw these thugs breaking the law with impunity, I was not sure if Detroit had won the N.B.A.championship, or maybe it was the National Geographic Channel, and we are witnessing yet another African revolution. It is too bad that the Rev. Al Sharpton did not inherit some of the genius of his ancestors when he so proudly bragged “we WAS building pyramids when the white FOLK were still in caves”. Instead of being a race-baiting, self-promoting germ, he should use his influence to help the wonderful country that gave him so many opportunities that he would not otherwise enjoy. When I see such a disgraceful display of criminal behavior and glee at destroying the property of hard-working and productive citizens, it makes me sad and very apprehensive about the future of our country. Can you imagine what this nation will look like when the Al Sharptons and his ilk can control the agenda? If you cannot, then just take a good look at what happened to Rhodesia, now called Zimbabwe, and after you wipe the tears from your eyes, get involved with the political process. We must never elect another president who wants to “fundamentally transform” our country; yes, there can always be improvements, but no, we do not want to be transformed into a third world country.

  3. P Lewis says:

    P.S. Remember Obama used to talk about a ‘teaching moment?”.

    Here is the one meant for only Obama .
    In response to this whole situation think for a minute of how Obama would have come across if he went down to Ferguson and led a linked arm procession of peaceful demonstrators singing “we shall Overcome”.

    Also these people need a hug…..he did not do that either.
    Just lectured.

    Think of the impact he would have engendered.


    Obama missed his whole historical moment.
    Too bad.

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