FERGUSON, Missouri (CNN) — A Missouri grand jury has decided not to indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, a prosecutor announced late Monday.
Unanimous indictment decision isn’t needed
Unlike a jury in a criminal case, which convicts someone if jurors are convinced of guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt,” a grand jury decides whether there is “probable cause” to charge someone with a crime, based on testimony and evidence presented.
In Missouri, grand jurors don’t have to be unanimous to indict, as long as nine of the 12 agree on a charge.
The grand jury can issue an indictment on any of these four charges: First-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. It also can add a charge of armed criminal action, authorities said.
But the grand jury, which received the Missouri statutes for self-defense and the police use of deadly force, may choose not to indict Wilson.
The grand jury meets in secrecy and first met in August. While the jury members are not identified, authorities have released some information about them.
The group of 12 includes nine white people (six men and three women) and three black people (two women and one man), court officials said.
The county grand jury was randomly selected from an approved pool and has been seated since May, according to Paul Fox, director of judicial administration for the St. Louis County Circuit Court.
Many grand juries hear numerous cases. These juries last for a specified period of time rather than the duration of a specific case.
Wilson himself testified before the grand jury, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said, an unusual move because he gave up his Fifth Amendment rights in doing so.