Reports: Michael Brown Had No Serious Felony Convictions As A Juvenile

Michael Brown Sr., holds up a photo of himself, at right, his son, Michael Brown, top left, and a young child during a news conference Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Jennings, Mo. Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed in... Michael Brown Sr., holds up a photo of himself, at right, his son, Michael Brown, top left, and a young child during a news conference Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, in Jennings, Mo. Michael Brown, 18, was shot and killed in a confrontation with police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo, on Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014.(AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

A Missouri court official said Wednesday that Michael Brown was never convicted of a top felony as a juvenile, according to multiple media reports.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and conservative journalist Charles C. Johnson each asked a judge Wednesday to release the potential juvenile records for Brown, the unarmed black 18-year-old who was fatally shot by a white police officer last month in Ferguson, Mo.

Brown did not have a criminal record as an adult, law enforcement have said previously.

While the St. Louis County Circuit Court has yet to release any of Brown’s records, if there were any, a court official apparently divulged a few clues during a hearing about the matter on Wednesday.

NBC’s Tracy Connor and the Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Kohler reported that Brown was never convicted of a Class-A or Class-B felony as a juvenile, nor was he facing any such charges at the time of his death on Aug. 9. Those details were provided by Cynthia Harcourt, the St. Louis County juvenile office’s attorney.

Class-A felonies include second-degree murder.

That type of crime has been a question on the right in the aftermath of Brown’s death because Johnson said he had uncovered revelations about Brown’s past.

In a tweet last month, Johnson said he “[c]onfirmed an earlier report” that Brown “had juvenile arrest record involving second degree murder.”

The claim was picked up by the conservative IJReview’s Kyle Becker, whose story made a huge splash on the right. As of Wednesday afternoon, Becker’s piece had been shared more than 60,000 times.

Despite Wednesday’s reports, Johnson didn’t seem to be backing off his earlier claims. He sent a tweet to Kohler arguing that the Post-Dispatch’s headline on Brown’s juvenile record was false and told the reporter to issue a correction for the story.

“That’s not what was said in court today, @jeremykohler,” he tweeted.

Johnson told TPM in an email on Wednesday that he was informed of Brown’s involvement in the second degree murder by two law enforcement sources in St. Louis and that his website,, was careful not to say that the late teen was “convicted.”

“The St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrongly reported that Cynthia Harcourt, who represents the St. Louis family court, said that Michael Brown had not been convicted of a ‘serious felony.’ (No reporter has asked her what a ‘serious felony’ even means.),” Johnson wrote in the email.

“This argument was meant to sway the judge but has never said Brown was convicted–only that he was involved in one. We still haven’t heard if he was charged or not. There are many ways in which someone could be present at a crime but never be charged with the underlying offense.”

Johnson also said that his sources told him that Brown was in a gang, which he claimed may have staved off a conviction.

“Juveniles, particularly those involved in gangs, aren’t usually convicted on a first offense,” Johnson wrote. “They are usually given probation, a plea bargain, or a reduced sentence.”

Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, told the New York Times last month that her son wasn’t in a gang.

Latest Livewire

Notable Replies

  1. You know something, it doesn’t matter. Brown was unarmed and did NOT deserve to be gunned down in the streets by a cop who, according to eyewitnesses and audio evidence, didn’t even have a real reason to pull his gun or fire the way he did.

  2. The conversation is shifting to whether or not an unarmed teen who was shot and killed by police had prior convictions?

    Why? Who cares?

  3. I see Johnson has moved on from his winning streak in Mississippi.

  4. “Johnson told TPM he was not immediately available for comment.”

    Uh… if he told TPM that, he was available.

  5. Charles C. Johnson is so stupid it’s a wonder he doesn’t fall down more.

Continue the discussion at

80 more replies


Avatar for doremus_jessup Avatar for austin_dave Avatar for marby Avatar for ncsteve Avatar for jloomis3 Avatar for artemisia Avatar for braxtonbraggart Avatar for cessnadriver Avatar for chammy Avatar for rudesan Avatar for voreason Avatar for chelsea530 Avatar for Calton Avatar for gr Avatar for sangsue Avatar for ignoreland Avatar for keninmn Avatar for suicide_arsonist Avatar for darrtown Avatar for palli Avatar for antisachetdethe Avatar for dordori Avatar for jviscont1 Avatar for AquaMadMan

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: