Paul Cambria, a nationally recognized criminal defense attorney based in Buffalo, was sought out by WBEN for analysis on the recent grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer charged in the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. Mr. Cambria has been interviewed by WBEN and other media outlets on many aspects of this case.
Click here for the interview.
This interview took place right after the St. Louis County prosecutor, who heard the grand jury’s testimony, released thousands of pages of the testimony. This was an unusual step as grand jury records and sealed and rarely made public.
Asked about the decision to release the documents, Mr. Cambria said, “It’s clear this is all part of the plan. I think the reason is to bring in the scientific evidence and the police officer’s testimony to try to explain all this, and you can see that is already happening because it is being discussed.”
Mr. Cambria was asked about speculation that the transcript was released at least in part to show that Michael Brown “was not exactly a model young man,” as one of the interviewers described him, and to help subdue civil unrest.
His response: “I think that’s exactly why it was released, to try to explain that he was an aggressor. That’s the police officer’s position. What I find interesting is some of the forensic testimony about the blood path and whether it is consistent with the officer’s testimony that he was charging him and coming toward the officer.”
He continued, “All those things are important, and I think that is why they released it, hoping they would justify the decision and in some way calm the violence.”
Mr. Cambria went on to say he thought there would have been unrest in Ferguson no matter what the grand jury’s decision had been, but that he expected the reaction to this decision was more violent than the reaction to a prosecuting decision would have been. “If they said they were going to prosecute, that would mean there would be another event, that there would some sorting out in a courtroom, in a public trial, with a jury, so it wouldn’t be such a final, this-is-it-and-nothing-else-is-going-to-happen decision as it is now.”
An interviewer brought up the late-night timing of the release of the grand jury’s decision, noting, “You would think that if it came down early in the morning, some of this [violence] would have been averted.”
Mr. Cambria responded, “The public officials have already addressed that issue, and the reason they chose late at night was because children wouldn’t be at school, people wouldn’t be in stores, they wouldn’t be on the street, the wouldn’t be at work, and therefore there would be so many less individuals here who could be hurt.”
“On the other hand,” he noted, “some daylight could have helped officers quell this thing.”
Mr. Cambria is known as one of the nation’s preeminent attorneys. In addition to the areas of criminal trials and criminal appeals, he practices in the areas of Constitutional and First Amendment law, zoning and land use, antitrust, and professional licensing defense. He divides his time between Lipsitz Green’s Buffalo and Los Angeles offices.