Why Can Michael Brown's Family sue for Wrongful Death?

A question I’ve been asked recently is why Michael Brown’s family in Ferguson can sue for Wrongful Death even though the Department of Justice declined to pursue criminal charges.

In a Wrongful Death case, there are certain enumerated people who have the right to recover for damages after the death of a loved one.

In Michael Brown’s case, his parents were next of kin since He was not married and had no children.

The Department of Justice investigated this very controversial case and concluded that it could not prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer intentionally or negligently shot Michael Brown.

In a criminal case, the prosecutor must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the accused is guilty, and in this case, because of all the conflicting evidence, they did not feel they could do so.

In a civil case, however, the standard is not as strict.

In a civil case the standard is “more probable than not”.

In the Wrongful Death case brought by Michael’s parents, their attorney will need to prove “more probably than not” that the officer negligently shot Michael, and that the City of Ferguson, more likely than not, did not follow reasonably procedures in

Training and educating its officers as to when to use firearms.

In the trial, the jury will hear the evidence from all of the witnesses called before it, and make a decision based on the evidence.

Many times, the verdict in a criminal proceeding is different from that in a civil one.

For example, in the OJ Simpson case, the jury did not convict him of murder in the criminal case because they did not believe “Beyond a reasonable doubt” That Simpson was guilty. Apparently, members of the jury believed to some extent, the mantra “If it doesn’t fit, you must aquit”.

In a later, civil Wrongful Death case, however, the parents of the victims won the civil case where the standard of proof was “More probable than not”.

Based on my reading to date, I’d say the parents have an excellent chance of winning in the Civil case.

Although Brown may have been the aggressor and started the fracas with the officer, at some point he started to run away and then turned around and went back.

It seems a stretch to me that a trained officer would need to shoot an unarmed man 5 more times after he was turning around with his hands up in the air.

You may also want to visit my personal injury attorney page or wrongful death attorney page.
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