Lawyer: Michael Brown had no serious juvenile record

A judge in Missouri delayed a decision on opening the juvenile record of Ferguson shooting victim Michael Brown.
By Frances Burns  |  Sept. 3, 2014 at 3:38 PM
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ST. LOUIS, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Michael Brown, the young, unarmed black man killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., had no serious juvenile record, a court official said Wednesday.

Cynthia Harcourt, a lawyer for St. Louis County Juvenile Officer Kip Seeley, spoke at a hearing on a request by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and other news organizations to open Brown's juvenile record. She said Brown was never found delinquent of any serious offenses, the equivalent of Class A or B adult felonies like robbery, first-degree burglary and murder, and did not have any open serious charges when he died.

Brown, 18 and a recent high school graduate, was shot by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, who had ordered Brown and a friend to move out of the roadway. A store security video showed that Brown, shortly before his death, had shoplifted a handful of cheap cigars and pushed a clerk who tried to stop him into a display case.

Brown's death set off days of sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and demonstrations around the country.

St. Louis County Circuit Court Judge Ellen Levy Siwak postponed making any decision on opening Brown's juvenile record.

Joseph Martineau, a lawyer representing the Post-Dispatch, argued that the main reason for keeping juvenile records confidential is to protect teenagers from stigma. He said that is no longer valid, given Brown's death, and opening his records is in the public interest.

Harcourt said media curiosity is not an adequate reason for opening juvenile records.

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