Meanwhile, many critics, noting his outspoken support for and close ties to law enforcement, strongly doubted that McCulloch’s heart was in it.

“I expected this. This is not a surprise,” St. Louis lawyer Lizz Brown told MSNBC. “When you have a prosecutor that is not impartial, that is not fair, this is the result.”

An inescapable fact of the U.S. legal system is that it’s simply harder to win a conviction than an indictment, because the hurdles are higher. In a famous 1985 interview with the New York Daily News, Sol Wachtler, then the chief judge of the New York’s highest court, said grand juries are so compliant that any competent prosecutor should be able to “indict a ham sandwich.”