Originally published at Slate.com.


St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch’s decision to “open up” the grand jury proceedings by including massive amounts of testimony and evidence has been decried as “highly unusual,” “deeply unfair,” and evidence that police officer Darren Wilson received “special treatment.” McCulloch’s move to include a good deal of exculpatory evidence and testimony led to a three-month, closed-door proceeding that included 70 hours of testimony, including 60 witnesses and three medical examiners. The breadth of the evidence presented to the grand jury has led many to declare that it turned the entire proceeding into something that walks and quacks an awful lot like a trial, but without many of the procedural rules that would make a trial truly fair.

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