Tag Archives: grand jury

Is Bill Cosby Innocent Until Proven Guilty?

Is Bill Cosby Innocent Until Proven Guilty? That question is at the heart of a virtual conversation I had over the weekend with a gentlemen on Facebook.

Facebook Post

In a Facebook status update posted Saturday morning after I had already “unfriended” the gentleman for reasons I will explain later in this piece, I shared the words below:

Debate is a lost art to many. A short while ago, I challenged a Facebook “friend” who had used a few dozen words in a status update to try — as in “hold a virtual trial” — and convict Bill Cosby. When I mentioned the fact that his finding of guilt — before any grand jury was convened and/or any criminal trial took place — reminded me of what Ferguson protesters seemed to want, he demanded an apology and threatened to block me. I saved him the trouble and clicked “UNFRIEND.”

What prompted me to share the words in blue above? The fact that this now-former Facebook friend — whom I’ll refer to as “Bubba” throughout the remainder of this piece — posted something on his Facebook page that made him appear eager and willing to serve as judge, jury and executioner for Cosby, the 77-year-old comedian and actor facing a flood of sexual assault allegations. After I commented on his status update, things went sour.

A short time after unfriending Bubba and posting the words in blue above on my Facebook page, Bubba caught wind of them and responded with his own comments. He could still do that, because my Facebook page is public and my settings allow it.

With only minor formatting changes and the removal of both the time element and “Like” button info, I share the virtual conversation (“Part One”) below, beginning at the point when I took notice of Bubba’s status update:

Bob McCarty Writes: Bubba – I must have missed the trial. When did it take place?

Bubba:  20+ women….and successful women that are not after his money have described in detail what he did. Bob, you have a lot more confidence in our system than I do. He CAN pay off a judge. Wake up, man! I wouldn’t let my kids watch him growing up. He has always been controversial. You believe what you want, but I am going to believe the drugged women that swears he raped them!

Bob McCarty Writes: Wake up? Bubba, I’ve waded through many records of trials involving sexual assault charges. Heck, I even wrote a book about one of the cases. Am I confident that the legal system would produce a fair result? Hardly. At the same time, I shudder to think anyone would believe the outcome in today’s “court of public opinion” that finds a man guilty based solely on the words of individuals whose motives may or may not be pure.

Bubba: I also said a judge can be placed and bought! I just want the truth known. Bob, I have written a lot, too, but that don’t make me the expert. You have your opinion and I have mine. That’s what I love about the 1st Amendment.

Bubba: Oh, and I do want a trial in a changed venue!

Bob McCarty Writes: So, you want a trial without a grand jury decision first? If so, you would fit in well with the Ferguson protesters. But I doubt that’s the case. Hope it is anyway.

Bubba: I never said I didn’t want a jury…that’s precisely what I want, with a fair and impartial judge.

Bubba: Bob, if you compare me to that Ferguson gang again, I will “block” you from be so ignorant on my page!!!! That one deserves an apology.

Bob McCarty Writes: I’ll save you that step. [Translation: I “unfriended” him on Facebook.]

Again, Bubba could still comment on the words in blue near the top of this piece, and he did.

In addition to rehashing the words in Part One above, he added more — and so did I. The conversation I’ll refer to as “Part Two” appears below:

Bubba: Bob, I appreciate that. You are a typical, book writing, know it all. I have not read any of your books, but I do hope for the sake of the ones that do, you don’t write with the same arrogance that you wrote here with.

Bubba: I am that so called “Ferguson sympathiser” Bob mentions. I think every one of them that disobeys an officer of the law should be jailed on the spot, tried, and let the judge or their peers decide their fate. Bob “skews” things. I wonder if he does that in his books??? Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis, Bubba

Bob McCarty Writes:  Gonna have to block you now, Bubba. You’ve gone lib on me with name-calling and personal attacks. Suggest you take a debate class. Adios.

Bubba: Oh, that is the complete conversation i posted for ole Bob above. I am an open book…got nothing to hide. Please read the conversation and you decide. Feel free to look at my page. If you like it, send me a friend request. Bubba

I added one more thing (see below) before deleting his comments so that I could post this long-winded piece:

Bob McCarty Writes:  The one thing Bubba forgot to include in his comments was his initial post that got things started.

After that, I kicked myself for failing to take a screenshot of the original Facebook status update in which Bubba skewered Cosby.

While I can tell you that it included a photo — from a linked news item, I think, but I’m not sure. The photo showed a protest sign that labeled Cosby a “pervert,” but I can’t tell you much more about it apart from the message it conveyed to me before any legal process had taken place: “Cosby is guilty!!!”

In short, Bubba’s status update reminded me of what Al Sharpton and so many others demanded on the fire- and smoke-filled streets of Ferguson, Mo., before any grand jury decision was announced. They wanted someone to pay a heavy price before guilt had been determined.

Don’t get me wrong. This piece has nothing to do with whether or not Cosby committed the alleged sexual assaults for which he stands accused by so many women; instead, it has everything to do with civil discourse and fair administration of justice. Instead, it begs the question, Do we really want to do away with the grand jury system and subject ourselves to a justice system more akin to mob rule than truth? Some Americans believe we are near a dangerous tipping point. Do you?

NOTE TO BUBBA: Yes, I do skew things in my books. In my nonfiction books, Three Days In August and The Clapper Memo, I skew toward the truth instead of relying on gossip, hearsay and conjecture. In my fiction novel, The National Bet, I skew toward realism and drama. You should read them to broaden your horizons a bit.

UPDATE 1/7/2015 at 4:39 p.m. Central:  I never expected the controversy over the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby to spill over into the subject matter of my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, but it did today in London. [Note to Cosby: Do not, under any circumstances, accept such an offer.]

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

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Army Special Forces Veteran Shares Something in Common With North Saint Louis County Residents Facing Fines

To those people who think it’s a stretch to compare turmoil in the lives of residents in and around Ferguson, Mo., to the turmoil that has permeated the life of a former Army Special Forces Soldier, I say, “YOU”RE WRONG!” Below, I explain why.

For many in North St. Louis County — an area that includes Ferguson, the town of 20,000 made famous by violent protests that followed the officer-involved shooting death of 18-year-old Mike Brown in August — anger has festered over an issue unrelated to Brown far longer than it has over the grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for killing Brown. The anger stems from being on the receiving end of warrants — in some municipalities, the average number was five warrants per year — one too many times. In some case, fines and court costs that result from appearing in municipal court to deal with those warrants total hundreds of dollars, according to Radley Balko’s Washington Post report published Sept. 3. That leaves those people facing difficult decisions.

If they miss work in order to make their court appearances, they risk being fired from their jobs. Conversely, if they make their court appearances and pay the fines associated with their infractions (i.e., speeding tickets, moving violations and other infractions), they risk not being able to pay their monthly bills and/or feed their families. In the town of Pine Lawn, for instance, Balko reports the fines total $1.8 miilion or around $576 per resident, an amount equal to 4.5 percent of an average resident’s annual income!

Some will argue that the individuals stopped by police in North St. Louis County deserve the tickets they receive, and I’m sure some do. At the same time, however, I empathize with those people — and I think it’s a large population — who, when faced with making the difficult choice between paying the monthly bills and using the same money to pay off city-issued fines imposed by overzealous law enforcement agencies, opt against paying the fines and court costs.

Fortunately, one Missouri legislator, Sen. Eric Schmitt recently introduced a municipal court reform measure in an effort to reign in overzealous municipalities who are currently allowed to bring in up to 30 percent of revenues through traffic tickets. If the measure becomes law, the income threshold will drop to 10 percent.

“Where does the former Green Beret fit into this equation?” you ask. Allow me to explain.

Kelly Stewart & Toby Keith

After spending several years behind bars at the U.S. Military Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., as part of the sentence imposed on him following a two-day military trial during which he was tried and convicted on sexual assault charges, Kelly A. Stewart served his time, finished his parole and was trying to live his life as best he can with a “sex offender” label hanging over him while he ekes out a living from a job that pays barely $10 an hour. That’s when the former Green Beret medic received a letter, informing him that he owes the Army approximately $27,000 and much begin paying it back at the rate of $700 per month.

Obviously, someone who spent his life savings defending himself in court against false rape and kidnapping allegations levied against him by a then-28-year-old German woman — and former mental patient — can’t possibly afford to make remuneration of $700 per month. So what does he do?

Should he fail to make payments to the Army, the equivalent of a Ferguson resident failing to appear in municipal court to answer for an outstanding warrant, he faces the likelihood of returning to federal prison. It’s a lose-lose proposition, and Stewart doesn’t have a state senator writing legislation on his behalf. Instead, he needs the American people to learn about his case and make conscious decisions to help — quickly!

To learn more about his case, order a copy of my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August (October 2011), in which I chronicle this highly-decorated combat veteran’s rough encounter with the military justice system.

For a snapshot of his situation and how you can help, read this letter and/or read my recent article, HELP: Former Green Beret Faces Possible Return to Prison! Thanks in advance!

UPDATE 4/19/2015 at 1:16 p.m. Central: Check out the limited-time free-books offer here.

If you like this article and my other efforts, please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Bob McCarty Offers Weekly Recap: Nov. 29

The week of Thanksgiving began with a bang — or, more accurately, looting and mayhem in the city of Ferguson, Mo., following the announcement of the grand jury’s decision about the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown more than three months ago. Below, you’ll see several of my posts this week had ties to the aforementioned mayhem:

As I prepared to peel potatoes for our Thanksgiving meal Thursday, I felt like a Soldier put on KP duty -- then I realized I had been in the Air Force.

As I prepared to peel potatoes for our Thanksgiving meal Thursday, I felt like a Soldier put on KP duty — then I realized I had been in the Air Force. Click on the image above to see more photos of my Thanksgiving preparations.

Sunday, Nov. 23:  Guest writer Paul R. Hollrah shared his take on Ferguson in a piece published under the headline, Guest Writer Believes Race Relations Near Tipping Point.

Monday, Nov. 24: Not to be confused with the words coming out of the mouths of Al Sharpton and others provoking racial tensions in North St. Louis County, I asked readers to test their skills by playing, “Can You Spot the Liar?” Later that day, I shared the biggest news of the week, NO INDICTMENT OF OFFICER DARREN WILSON!, to which I would add 10 updates during the day.

Tuesday, Nov. 25: Five hours after going to bed at 2 a.m. Tuesday, I shared news about 25 structures burning down, thanks largely to the failures of Gov. Jay Nixon (D-Mo.) to manage the response to protests about the grand jury decision. Later that day, I broke the story about the owners of the Little Caesars Pizza shop in Ferguson suffering their third major disaster in four years. Soon after, I learned about a GoFundMe account being established to help them and their employees recover. After that, I contacted as many people as I could in the local and national media with details. Though the effort had raised more than $2,800 by noon today, it pales in comparison to the effort to help a cupcake shop owner in Ferguson whose business was damaged by the protests.

Wednesday, Nov. 26: Shifting my focus for a moment, I shared news related to Kelly A. Stewart, the former Army Green Beret whose life story is chronicled in my book, Three Days In August. That news came in the form of a piece written by Stewart’s father that appeared under the headline, Father Seeks Support for Wrongly-Convicted Soldier, Son.

Kelly A. Stewart's uniform was covered with signs of his life as a Top One Percent Special Forces Soldier.

Kelly A. Stewart’s uniform was covered with signs of his life as a Top One Percent Special Forces Soldier. Click image to read more posts about Stewart.

Thursday, Nov. 27: Thanksgiving Day seemed an appropriate occasion to Be Thankful for Those Serving Their Country, so I shared one photo of a Soldier working in a mess hall in preparation for the annual feast and pointed readers to my Facebook page to see more. I also helped cook up a feast and caught up on things with a friend who I had not seen in more than a dozen years. I also shared with my Facebook friends news that no riots had taken place to protest the fact that 981 black babies had been killed during abortions in Missouri since the day Brown was shot dead in Ferguson.

Friday, Nov. 28: During the day, I took a break from working to watch college football and spend time with the aforementioned friend. After he departed, my wife and I watched the movie, Chef. After that, we watched Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary, America: Imagine the World Without Her. If I had to recommend only one, it would be the documentary, and I’d make everyone I know watch it.

Saturday, Nov. 29:  Earlier today, I shared snippets from Three Days In August in my piece, Army Prosecutor Wanted Special Forces Soldier to Break Law, Discuss Classified Info in Open Court; He Refused.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

NO INDICTMENT OF OFFICER DARREN WILSON!

in the case of the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced at 8:20 p.m. Central that the 12 members of the grand jury could find no grounds upon which to issue a criminal indictment against 28-year-old police officer Darren Wilson. More details coming soon.

UPDATE #1 Nov. 24, 2014, at 8:31 p.m. Central:  USA TODAY

UPDATE #2 Nov. 24, 2014, at 8:35 p.m. Central:  St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s website overloaded (see pic below).

STLCOPA_website_timeout

UPDATE #3 Nov. 24, 2014, at 8:40 p.m. Central:  Item by item, Prosecuting Attorney McCulloch effectively shredded the case against Officer Wilson. Said he will release evidence after he finishes making announcement. Now, it’s going to be extremely interesting to see how members of the protest crowd react. Praying all involved use wisdom and common sense.

UPDATE #4 Nov. 24, 2014, at 8:55 p.m. Central:  Prosecuting Attorney McCulloch refuses to fall for slew of loaded questions from reporters appearing to be agenda-driven. Said federal investigation ongoing. Said several alleged witnesses disappeared and could not be located for questioning.

UPDATE #5 Nov. 24, 2014, at 8:58 p.m. Central:  Prosecuting Attorney McCulloch showed empathy toward parents of Michael Brown Jr., but said the fact that the case involved a justifiable use of self-defense does not lessen the fact that a tragedy took place.

UPDATE #6 Nov. 24, 2014, at 9:02 p.m. Central:  Parents of Michael Brown Jr. issues statement, saying, they are “profoundly disappointed” Officer Wilson won’t face charges.

UPDATE #7 Nov. 24, 2014, at 9:09 p.m. Central:  Congressional Black Caucus Chair Marcia Fudge on Monday categorized a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to criminally charge the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown “a slap in the face” that underscores “an unwritten rule that Black lives hold no value.”

UPDATE #8 Nov. 24, 2014, at 9:19 p.m. Central:  While watching Obama speak, I see on Fox2Now.com that protesters are trying to flip a police car as tear gas is deployed (See pic below).

Obama_Riots_PhotoUPDATE #9 Nov. 24, 2014, at 9:35 p.m. Central:  1st District U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) playing race card. In reference to federal investigation, says matter isn’t over.

UPDATE #10 Nov. 25, 2014, at 1:55 a.m. Central:  Unified Command officials just wrapped up a 20-minute press conference in Ferguson.  St. Louis County Police Chief John Belmar described events in general terms before admitting that he and Missouri State Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson never expected things to be so violent and destructive. After saying how disappointed he is about the fabric of the community being torn apart, he noted the “good news” — no one had been killed. Captain Johnson followed by reiterating the disappointment factor and how damaging the evening has been to the community and the region. In response to questions from reporters, Chief Belmar said something that stumped me — he thought they had “a good plan” to deal with the protests.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Guest Writer Believes Race Relations Near Tipping Point

EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is a guest post by Paul R. Hollrah, a resident of Oklahoma who writes from the perspective of a veteran conservative politico who served two terms as a member of the Electoral College. Even if you disagree with him, this piece will make you think long and hard.

My eighty-first birthday earlier this week was to have been a happy occasion, featuring a great dinner with friends at Tulsa’s finest German restaurant and many cards and letters from far-flung children and grandchildren. But a late email printout detailing events in Geneva, Switzerland, took a bit of the luster off the day.

Click to view full document (PDF) submitted to UN Committee Against Torture.

Click to view full document (PDF) submitted to UN Committee Against Torture.

The email I received was a copy of a 13-page document titled, United States Compliance with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment. It was subtitled, Written Statement on the Police Shooting of Michael Brown and Ensuing Police Violence Against Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. The document was filed with the 53rd Session of the United Nations Committee Against Torture, meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, from Nov. 3-28, 2014, after being delivered to Geneva by Michael Brown’s parents, Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden.

The cover page of the complaint asserts that the complaint was submitted by the Brown family, who hand-delivered it to Geneva, as well as organizations called HandsUpUnited, Organization for Black Struggle, and Missourians Organized for Reform and Empowerment.

In a CNN interview, Brown’s mother insisted that, “We need the world to know what’s going on in Ferguson and we need justice… We need answers and we need action. And we have to bring it to the U.N. so they can expose it to the rest of the world, what’s going on in small town Ferguson.”

But, all emotion aside, what are the facts? We know that, on Aug. 9, 2014, Michael Brown Jr. a 6 ft. 4 in. 292 lb. black teenager, was identified on videotape as the individual who engaged in the robbery of a convenience store in Ferguson, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis. In the video, Brown is seen taking a box of Swisher Sweets cigars (valued at approximately $49) from the checkout counter of the convenience store, a 2nd degree theft under Missouri law.

As he and a friend prepared to exit the store, Brown is challenged by a store employee who attempted to lock the door before the two could leave the premises. However, Brown prevented the clerk from locking the door and as he and his accomplice walked out the door, he grabbed the store clerk by the lapels and shoved him backward into a display rack. And when the store clerk continued to protest, Brown turned and approached him in a threatening manner.

Minutes later, Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, a fugitive from justice on a theft charge from Jefferson City, Mo., were seen walking defiantly down the middle of a street near the convenience store they’d just robbed. Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, on routine patrol, arrived on the scene and instructed Brown and Johnson to “get the [expletive] off the street.”

At that point, one must assume that Brown, having just robbed a convenience store and assaulted a store clerk, feared that he was about to be taken into custody in connection with the robbery he’d committed just minutes before. With that thought in mind, he decided that he would not allow himself to be arrested and taken into custody, with a potential jail term to follow. Instead, when Officer Wilson prepared to exit his police cruiser, Brown attacked him and forced him back into the vehicle. Having been physically assaulted by a young man, much younger and stronger than himself, Officer Wilson was then justified in the use of deadly force. However, as the officer prepared to unholster his sidearm while seated inside his vehicle, Brown reached through the open window and attempted to wrest the weapon from the officer’s hand. A struggle ensured during which two shots were fired, one of them striking Brown in the wrist.

According to Officer Wilson and several eye witnesses, Wilson then exited his vehicle and attempted to take Brown into custody. At which time Brown, who had been walking away from the scene, turned and charged the officer. Certain that he could not survive an attack by a man 6 ft. 4 in. tall and weighing nearly 300 lb., the officer fired four additional shots before Brown dropped to the pavement.

But this is not the story that Brown’s fugitive friend told police and the media. According to his version, Brown was walking toward the officer with his hands in the air, attempting to surrender. An autopsy showed that Brown had been shot six times in the front of his body. What is not clear is the source of the unsubstantiated charge that Brown was shot in the back.

Nor is it the story that Brown’s parents told in their testimony before the U.N. committee in Geneva. According to their account, “Midday on August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black male, was walking down a small street in the middle of an apartment complex with a friend when they were approached by a white police officer. According to his friend, the closest witness to the afternoon’s events, the officer approached them in his SUV police vehicle, told them to ‘get the [expletive] off the sidewalk,’ which then escalated into a confrontation. After a struggle, the officer began to shoot the teen. Brown ran away, as he was hit by the officer’s bullets. The officer chased the teen on foot, and according to multiple witnesses, even after Michael Brown raised his hands to surrender and begged the officer not to shoot, the officer continued to fire. No witness reported any orders given to Brown as these shots were fired.”

Nowhere in their testimony is there a hint that Brown and his friend had just committed a strong-arm robbery of a business establishment. Nowhere in their testimony do they speculate about their son’s state of mind… how he may have concluded that he and his friend were about to be arrested as suspects in a felony crime and, in an effort to avoid arrest, attacked and wounded a police officer. Nowhere in their testimony do they mention that their son was first shot in a struggle over the police officer’s handgun. Nowhere in their testimony do they mention that their son’s friend, Dorian Johnson, himself a fugitive from justice, may not be a credible witness. And nowhere in their testimony do they suggest that the officer told the boys to “get the [expletive] off the street.” Instead, they testified that the officer told the boys to “get the [expletive] off the sidewalk.”

The Browns testified that, “The teenager was hit by at least six shots, according to an autopsy performed by a pathologist not affiliated with the government. The autopsy further revealed that the final shots included one that entered his eye, and another at the top of the head, which may have indicated his head was lowered as he collapsed or kneeled to surrender. The intentional, arbitrary killing of Michael Brown, shot to death by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, amounts to torture under Article I of the Convention.”

Was the pathologist “not affiliated with the government,” an expert hired by the Brown family, a credible witness? And is it even within the realm of possibility that an experienced police officer would “execute” a teenager, in cold-blood, in broad daylight, as he knelt to surrender? Is it not more reasonable to conclude that Brown was shot in the top of his head at close range as he lowered his head to charge the officer?

But now the nation is threatened with a massive outbreak of violence if the St. Louis County grand jury refuses to indict Officer Wilson. The demonstrations and rioting that have followed the shooting are a blot on the black community. And if the grand jury concludes that Officer Wilson acted in self-defense, which they likely will, we can expect unprecedented violence in the streets where the black community in and around St. Louis will loot neighborhood business establishments and burn many homes to the ground.

Brown’s mother told a CNN reporter in an interview, “We need the world to know what’s going on in Ferguson and we need justice… We need answers and we need action.”

Justice? Answers? Action? These are not what the professional race hustlers want. What they want is revenge, not justice. Nor are they going to like the answers they’re likely to get from the St. Louis County grand jury. And while the “action” they want is the indictment of Officer Wilson, the only “action” they will get is a lot of grief raining down on the heads of black people across the country as they loot and burn many of the businesses where they work, and burn their own neighborhoods to the ground.

And while we can all empathize with the Brown family for the loss of a son, Brown’s parents should be ashamed of themselves for allowing themselves to be so blatantly used and taken advantage of by professional race agitators, the attorney general of the United States included. But then, it’s not every day they’re treated to an all-expense-paid trip to Geneva.

If black people across the country are looking for something on which they can vent their anger and outrage, the killing of Michael Brown is a very poor choice. They would be better advised to take a closer look at Barack Obama’s Chicago, where black-on-black murders spiked to 516 in 2012, the second time homicides have surpassed 500 since 2003.

And they might want to take a closer look at white liberals and Democrats who have raised their expectations to the skies and then did nothing of substance to help them achieve the promised social and economic progress.

At this writing, the St. Louis County grand jury has not handed down either an indictment of Officer Wilson, or a finding of self-defense. And while it is understandable that members of the grand jury, whose names and home addresses are almost certainly known throughout the black community, are afraid to hand down a ruling that would exonerate Officer Wilson, the obvious jury nullification debacle of the O.J. Simpson trial and the violence that occurred in South Los Angeles in the wake of the Rodney King police beating is still far too fresh in the minds of the American people. We are at a tipping point in race relations and we should all be very afraid.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.