St. Louis Judge Finds Former Police Officer Jason Stockley Not Guilty

Anthony Lamar Smith

On July 31, 2017, we began following the trial of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, for killing Anthony Lamar Smith.  You can read it at this link. The media provided bits and pieces of what happened at trial because the judge did not allow any cameras nor electronic devices in the courtroom.

This case was controversial for several reasons, but the main reason was because Stockley appeared to have planted a gun in Smith’s car.  Stockley’s DNA was found on the gun, but not Smith’s DNA.

Stockley opted for a bench trial.  Only the judge decides.  There is no jury.  Trial ended on August 9, 2017.  Judge Timothy J. Wilson stated that he would not have a decision entered until after August 18, 2017.   The month of August came and went, and there was no decision.  Then came reports that St. Louis was preparing to keep the peace because of potential protests and violence if the judge acquitted Stockley.   That was the first indication what the judge’s decision would be.

Judge Timothy J. Wilson

This morning, Judge Wilson entered a 30 page decision that you can read at this link.  He entered a ruling of not guilty of first degree murder and not guilty of armed criminal action, saying that the state failed to meet its burden of proof.   The judge’s decision sounds as if he would have decided guilty for involuntary manslaughter had the state sought those charges.

This is the decision of the court.  The United States does not allow prosecutors to appeal unfavorable decisions.  They get one chance only.

Oddly enough, had Anthony Lamar Smith been a defendant and the judge found him guilty and wrote the following in his decision, Anthony might have a good basis to appeal.  It’s a statement as to whether Anthony was or wasn’t armed. Judge Wilson wrote on page 26;

“Finally, the Court observes, based on its nearly thirty years on the bench, that an urban heroin dealer not in possession of a firearm would be an anomaly.”

It appears to have made no difference as to why Stockley went to his vehicle, dug into a bag purportedly for a “clot” kit, then decided that Smith was already dead and left his car without the kit.  It appears to have made no difference that with numerous other officers present, that Stockley, as the officer involved in the shooting, went into Anthony’s car to search it.

The judge also found that because Anthony was shot in the lower abdomen, that he was leaning to his right reaching for a gun.  No consideration was given that there was a crash and Anthony was shot, either which could have been a reason for why he was leaning.

It also appears that once again, we see a trial decision where prosecutors proceed on the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, while the judge or jury uses a standard of abuse of discretion.

Posted on 09/15/2017, in Anthony Lamar Smith, Jason Stockley, Trial Videos and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. yahtzeebutterfly

    I am in shock.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yahtzee,
      I’m disappointed. The deceased cannot testify, and that is always a disadvantage for trial. With Anthony crashing the car deploying the airbag, and then being shot, his leaning should have been irrelevant. Logical, common sense says that in such a condition he would not have reached for a gun. If he had a gun, he would have reached for it before either officer got close to the car.

      I’m disappointed too because the judge’s statement that I quoted in the post convicted Anthony. “…based on 30 years of experience …” goes both ways. He should apply his comment to protesters based on their experience with the judicial system.

      Liked by 2 people

      • yahtzeebutterfly

        Your observation is solid.

        Like

      • yahtzeebutterfly

        Did you see this today from the NAACP?

        “NAACP LDF Statement on Justice Department Scaling Back Key Policing Reform Initiative”
        http://www.naacpldf.org/press-release/naacp-ldf-statement-justice-department-scaling-back-key-policing-reform-initiative

        Like

        • Yahtzee,
          I watched an interview with an person from the NAACP. I think it was on CNN. I have mixed emotions regarding the involvement of federal government in police matters. That’s because ultimately, police departments work for cities and cities have mayors or city managers. Those are the persons to hold responsible and accountable for reform.

          I realize that the NAACP has good intentions, and that the Department of Justice has entered into consent degrees with some police departments. That hasn’t brought about any change in the legal system in cases involving police shootings.

          Here’s a link to the DOJ’s list of consent decrees and cases against police departments. New Orleans is on that list. They entered into a reform agreement in 2013. Alton Sterling was killed in July 2016. No officer was charged and the DOJ closed its investigation.

          Like

          • yahtzeebutterfly

            Your thoughts make a lot of sense to me.

            Thanks for the link to the DOJ closing of the Alton Sterling investigation explaining why they could not charge anyone.

            Like

            • Yahtzee,
              You are welcomed. One of the things that the consent decrees show is that the DOJ finds that certain police departments violate the constitutional rights of those citizens who they serve. Then after the next incident involving a Black person and the police, the agency looks for reasons to justify the use of excessive or deadly force. When witnesses do not give them cookie-cutter testimonies, the DOJ says there is not sufficient evidence to meet the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.

              Here’s the common sense in that approach — who can ever give evidence beyond a reasonable doubt regarding what someone else is thinking or why they took certain action? Which means investigating authorities have to default on the reasons given to them by those under investigation, i.e., the officers.

              So, here is what we have. Citizens cannot or do not try to get mayors to do the right thing in the hiring and practices of police departments. Police departments depend on unions who support whatever they do. So, citizens go to the federal government to whip police departments into shape. The federal government enters into a consent degree with the police departments, but they also set standards for investigating complaints so that those consent decrees are as good a blank pieces of paper.

              It’s a vicious circle.

              In the 1930’s -40’s, politician Fiorello LaGuardia had some choice things and warnings to say about discretion given to law enforcement. His words ring true today.

              Liked by 1 person

            • yahtzeebutterfly

              Thanks to you, I have just learned a lot!

              Like

            • Yahtzee,
              I don’t know if I should be given credit for anything. There are very simple instructions given to imperfect mankind to live peacefully; love thy neighbor as thyself and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If more and more people did that, the law would eventually become obsolete. Police officers would be replaced by peacekeepers; a group of elders who have lived according to the instructions and to teach children from the womb what is and is not righteous.

              Liked by 1 person

            • yahtzeebutterfly

              Beautiful!

              Like

  2. the victim had no gun and this judge should be removed from the bench and charged…..obstruction of justice done by the judge

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill,
      We kinda knew when Stockley chose a bench trial that no matter what the prosecution and defense presented, that the decision would be not guilty. Like you said during the trial, where was the evidence of the gun trail — who owned it, tracing the serial number? The trial was a dog and pony show.

      Like

  3. It’s so sad. Once again a ridiculous verdict. This has got to stop. I feel so powerless and I’m not associated in any way. 😢

    Liked by 1 person

    • ty, that is the point the prosecution had the evidence proving it wasnt his gun and they chose to NOT use it because it would prove the corruption in the handling of evidence, an officer being allowed to take evidence, clean it then use it as a drop gun.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. 😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢😢!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. chuquestaquenumber1

    This not guilty verdict now allows police to kill with unauthorized guns. Now let us see what happens when a black cop takes out his unauthorized Glock 18 and kills a white suspect.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. People don’t understand the more injustice you have, the more crazy this world will respond. We respond to hate first because that emotion is the first reaction.

    Like

    • yahtzeebutterfly

      “People don’t understand the more injustice you have, the more crazy this world will respond.”

      Hopefully, that type of uncontrolled response will not occur.

      Calm, clear minds are needed to solve societal and justice problems.

      Rev. James Lawson, who mentored members of SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) in the 1960s on the methods of nonviolence, shares powerful insight here:

      “Violence has no practical results toward building a strengthened community or solving the problems of human prejudice, bias, and injustice…It complicates issues and escalates the pain and postpones the hard work of facing the problem and healing it…It cannot build a house or create a community that is more just and fair.”

      Video: “The Rev. James Lawson: Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter”

      Video: “James Lawson: Reflections on Life, Nonviolence, Civil Rights, MLK”

      Like

  7. yahtzeebutterfly

    “Stockley case transcripts reveal misstatements to grand jury”
    http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/stockley-case-transcripts-reveal-misstatements-to-grand-jury/article_4d87b57c-7377-5b7c-8dfc-1f902221772a.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=user-share

    Excerpt:

    “Deeken told the grand jury that a DNA expert told him that Stockley’s DNA on the gun came from blood, suggesting that it was there before the shooting. That helped bolster the prosecution’s claims that the gun had been planted.

    “But during his deposition in May, Deeken couldn’t remember why he told the grand jury Stockley’s blood was on the gun.

    “At trial, the same DNA expert denied telling Deeken that Stockley’s blood was on the gun, saying that the city’s crime lab can only confirm the presence of DNA but not its biological source.

    Like

    • Yahtzee,
      And yet, we heard during Zimmerman’s trial that the lab person was able to identify ONLY blood and took samples to test for DNA.

      Like

      • yahtzeebutterfly

        You are right!

        Like

        • Yahtzee,
          I remember that well — even did a video on it. Some of the blood found on Zimmerman’s jacket did not belong to him nor Trayvon, which is why I suspect that he was in a fight that weekend before he killed Trayvon.

          Like

  1. Pingback: St. Louis Judge Finds Former Police Officer Jason Stockley Not Guilty – The Militant Negro™

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