ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. - Michael Brown had no serious felony convictions either as a juvenile or adult.
A juvenile court official said Wednesday that Ferguson Police shooting victim Michael Brown was never convicted of a serious felony such as first-degree murder or second-degree murder. The information came out in St. Louis County Circuit Court as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and GotNews.com petitioned to have Brown's juvenile record made public, if it existed.
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year old Brown on August 9. The shooting sparked days of protests and reignited national debate on race and police tactics.
Charles C. Johnson is the editor-in-chief for GotNews.com. He said, "I've heard from law enforcement sources there is in fact a juvenile record, and I want to know the truth, and I think the American people deserve that given how much attention the Justice Department and numerous media have already lavished on Ferguson."
The attorney for the Post-Dispatch, Joe Martineau, argued, "If these records exist, there is interest in knowing Michael Brown's background ... what we're asking for here is just verification, one way or the other ... We're acting in a vacuum."
On the other side, Cynthia Harcourt with the St. Louis County Juvenile Office argued the integrity of the juvenile court system was at stake saying, "Media and its curiosity are not legitimate interests. The court of public opinion does not require the release of juvenile records."
While she did not confirm a record existed, she did say Brown had no serious felony convictions.
That is meaningless to John Burns, the attorney for GotNews.com.
"That doesn't mean there weren't charges filed, there was nothing said in open court," he said. "There could be a wealth of information inside of these files."
An attorney for the Brown family, Anthony Gray, criticized the Post-Dispatch and GotNews.com saying this was more about character assassination than the public's right to know.
Gray said, "Now even as he is laying to rest they are still trying to kill him in a sense with these attempts to assassinate what legacy or reputation he may have today that he can no longer defend."
Gray argued that even if Brown did have a minor juvenile record for something like truancy, it has nothing to do with whether Officer Darren Wilson acted with excessive force.
The judge did not indicate when she would rule. Whatever her decision, it will likely be appealed by the losing side.
Community activists gathered outside the offices of St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch Wednesday to ask Gov. Jay Nixon to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Michael Brown fatal shooting.
The “Don’t Shoot” Coalition says appointing a special prosecutor in the Michael Brown case could any appearance of impropriety or impartiality.