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Lawsuits seek Ferguson victim's juvenile records


CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) - Lingering questions about Michael Brown could be answered Wednesday when a judge considers two media requests to release any possible juvenile 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's not known if 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 asked 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 by Charles C. Johnson of Fresno, California, cites a 1984 Missouri Court of Appeals ruling in which the juvenile records of an 18-year-old who was killed by a security guard while shoplifting at a supermarket in 1979 were released in a wrongful death lawsuit.

That man's mother challenged a trial court's decision to release the records to defendants who were hoping to determine the 18-year-old's lost earning capacity.

"It certainly is not much of a stretch to go from the case law that exists right now to that theory," said Jean Maneke, who is counsel to the Missouri Press Association.

But Washington University law professor Mae Quinn, director of the school's juvenile law clinic, called the case cited by Johnson, editor-in-chief of the website GotNews.com, "completely irrelevant," since he does not have a vested legal interest in the Brown case.

"The biggest distinction is they were real parties to a real suit," she said, referring to the grocery store owners' successful challenge for the juvenile records. "There was a real dispute. That's a major distinction."

"The cited case in no way deals with release of records, much less release to a member of the general public," she added.

The efforts to obtain Brown's juvenile records - if there are any - have been criticized by some who say his past is irrelevant to the question of whether Wilson responded with excessive force.

A grand jury in another Clayton courtroom is also scheduled to meet Wednesday to consider that issue.

The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division is also investigating Wilson's fatal shooting of Brown.

Ferguson Police Are Using Body Cameras


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Beliefs shape views on Michael Brown killing

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sealtheborder12 September 03 2014 at 12:57 PM

Every picture of this thug is him being a THUG.....no smile, just a scowl and trying to look "hard"........I cannot wait for this info to be released and show he had a laundry list of arrests and convictions as a juvenile...........Live the thug life.....die like a thug.......

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7 replies
Rick Elkin September 03 2014 at 1:00 PM

Let's face it...This kid was NOT a choir boy! I am not passing judgement on him. I will let the facts come out in the correct manner. But, the video of the robbery at the convenience store is very clear. I think it would be germane to the case to see if there are any other instances of crimes committed.

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7 replies
tkru164572 September 03 2014 at 1:04 PM

Why does AOL post a Picture of a 12 Year old Boy? Why don't you post an accurate Image? Perhaps you couldn't find any Baby Pics? Be Real

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7 replies
wywh3420 September 03 2014 at 1:06 PM

What is with those photos of Brown ?
Why do they never use current photos. Just like in the Trayvon Martin case...Everyone knows he was a thug / gangster type. Just like brown. LETS SEE CURRENT PHOTOS OF THE APE MAN THUG.

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3 replies
Welcome Sarge! September 03 2014 at 1:07 PM

They don't want his juvenile record revealed because he has a half dozen previous arrests. One for murder and another for armed robbery. But he's very good now.

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5 replies
Susan Bond September 03 2014 at 1:08 PM

Ok... we ALL know he wasn't an angel... right? I don't think the PRESS has any RIGHT to disclosure. I'm tired of the press thinking they're running the show.

On the other hand... we have the entire history of the officer... so since this does apply to an emotionally charged situation.. why not find out just how "innocent" this guy was?

I'm not saying this guy deserved to die for stealing a box of cigars.. but when you break the law... you take your chances.

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5 replies
wongtpa September 03 2014 at 1:08 PM

Michael Brown was a thug and the record proves it. But for the stooge media, all would know!

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3 replies
ram4131 September 03 2014 at 1:02 PM

His angelic personality has already been established on video robbing the store. Pulling up his past record doesn't change the fact he's dead.

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5 replies
stu.padasso3 September 03 2014 at 12:58 PM

Bet a cookie he not a good mamas boy :-)

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3 replies
barbgre1 September 03 2014 at 1:01 PM

It's important to know the full truth about any legal issues.....otherwise it will just continue to be a contest of opinions. How can you have justice without truth?

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2 replies
Randy1953 barbgre1 September 03 2014 at 1:22 PM

How does someones previous record mean anything in a current charge ? If that was true then George Zimmerman was guilty because of his cop beating , girlfriend abusing ways !

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2 replies
CREEPER Randy1953 September 03 2014 at 4:48 PM

Anyone Think Randy is a Crimminal

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Gary Randy1953 September 04 2014 at 10:49 AM

So you're saying the officer here was justified, right. You need to take a course in basic logic. And by the way your argument is invalid .

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Donna barbgre1 September 03 2014 at 2:20 PM

That's why there are COURTS to decide these issues.

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1 reply
crotalus Donna September 03 2014 at 5:50 PM

My touch of OCD compels me to point out you misspelled "journalist", Donna. But other than that, you are right on.

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