Journalists requests for judge to release Michael Brown’s possible juvenile records
A Missouri judge is considering two media requests that would release any possible records of the unarmed 18-year-old who was killed by a Missouri police officer last month.
Juvenile records are confidential in Missouri, so it isn’t definitively known if Michael Brown was arrested before he legally became an adult.
Police have said Brown had no adult criminal record. The family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, has refused to discuss whether Brown had a juvenile record.
The St Louis Post-Dispatch and a California online journalist have filed separate petitions in St Louis County family court to determine whether Brown had past legal trouble. Both cite an overriding public right to know Brown’s background after his shooting death by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson sparked more than a week of sometimes-violent protests and drew international scrutiny.
The more basic argument boils down to the question of whether Brown’s privacy rights extend beyond the grave.
The lawsuit, filed by Charles C. Johnson of Fresno, California cites a 1984 Missouri ruling where the juvenile records of a teen who was killed who shoplifting at a supermarket were released as part of a wrongful death lawsuit.
In that particular case, the mother of the young man killed after he was beaten by a store security guard in 1979 challenged a trial court’s decision to release the records.
Critics in opposition of the efforts to obtain Brown’s juvenile records, if there are any say his past conduct is irrelevant to the question of whether Wilson properly responded.
Thoughts on the requests? Is it useful information or just another attempt to demonize Mr. Brown?
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