Gabriel “Jack” Chin Comments on Ferguson Grand Jury for New Republic

Gabriel “Jack” Chin commented for media including the New Republic and the Washington Times on the news that a Grand Jury in Ferguson, Missouri would not indict police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown. Though the decision triggered protests across the nation, Professor Chin said the Grand Jury’s action was not unexpected.

“A grand jury will indict a ham sandwich,’ the saying goes, but that never applied to police,” Chin said. “Of course, society requires police to carry guns and orders them to use them when necessary; therefore, they get the benefit of the doubt in close cases. I can’t recall an on-duty police officer being charged for homicide without clear and strong evidence of criminality. Ambiguous, unclear, even suspicious circumstances are insufficient.”

“Even if you could have gotten an indictment, what good does it do to get an indictment and then have your case thrown out?” Chin said in an interview with the Washington Times. “You go ahead and do a weak grand jury presentation, but if you do it in a case that’s actually weak, how are you going to feel when you are prosecuting a case that you really shouldn’t be prosecuting?”

Gabriel "Jack" Chin, who joined the King Hall faculty in 2011, is a prolific and much-cited criminal and immigration law scholar whose work has addressed many of the most pressing social issues of our time.

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