A Grand Jury failed to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Michael Brown, which led to riots in Ferguson, MO. This my have been due in part to the fact that the prosecutor presented the Grand Jury with all the evidence rather than just presenting the evidence that bolsters his case for indictment. In this article, Megan Mcardle argues that the prosecutor was in a no-win situation, since he was under political pressure to convene a grand jury, and yet he didn't think that a conviction would be likely. So he intentionally tried not to get an indictment in order to avoid the case going to trial.

But my question is, is it unethical for a prosecutor not to try his hardest to get an indictment after he's convened a Grand Jury? Could a prosecutor be disbarred if it's found that he presented evidence which he knew would undermine his case for an indictment? Would such behavior run afoul of government rules of conduct for prosecutors?

1 Answer 1


On the contrary, it is unethical for a prosecutor to bring a case where there is no reasonable prospect of conviction. The prosecutor is an officer of the court and as a representative of the state, their primary concern is the guilty are convicted and the not guilty are not.

  • 1
    Yes, but then if a prosecutor thinks there is no reasonable prospect for conviction, isn't his obligation not to convene a grand jury? Is it ethical to convene a grand jury and yet not try to obtain an indictment? Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 15:06
  • 2
    @KeshavSrinivasan yes unethical, it's also political and not illegal.
    – Dale M
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 22:58
  • But could a prosecutor be disbarred for not trying for an indictment as hard as he can after he has convened a grand jury? Commented Jun 18, 2017 at 23:12

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