There is something shady going on in Staten Island. On Thursday (Mar. 19) a judge ruled against releasing evidence the grand jury used when determining not to indict an NYPD officer for the choking death of Eric Garner.
Garner’s death was ruled a homicide by the NY medical examiner. The grand jury’s decision not to prosecute was widely seen as a gross miscarriage of justice that sparked protests in NYC and throughout the nation.
Yet, the judge felt there was not enough precedent to unseal the evidence the grand jury used to make their decision.
Reports the New York Times:
Lawyers for the parties seeking the evidence had seized on the public outcry for transparency after the grand jury, as well as the one in the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., declined to bring criminal charges against the officers involved.
The prosecutor in the Brown case made public much of the information about the Ferguson grand jury. But on Staten Island, Justice William E. Garnett of State Supreme Court decided against the request for public disclosure sought by the New York Civil Liberties Union; the city’s public advocate, Letitia James; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; and The New York Post.
Justice Garnett sided with the Staten Island district attorney, Daniel M. Donovan Jr., who has fought the release of grand jury materials, arguing such disclosure would have a “chilling effect” on witnesses.
According to Justice Garnett, the request is only being to distribute it to the public, which is not enough reason, in his opinion.
The parties, Justice Garnett wrote in his conclusion, “merely ask for disclosure for distribution to the public.”
“This request is not a legally cognizable reason for disclosure,” he continued. “What would they use the minutes for? The only answer which the court heard was the possibility of effecting legislative change. That proffered need is purely speculative and does not satisfy the requirements of the law.”
Who’s side is the Staten Island D.A. and Justice William E. Garnett really on? It definitely doesn’t seem like justice because what is there to hide?
James and the New York Civil Liberties Union will appeal the judges decision.
Tell us what you think in the comments.