Lawyer Can Withhold Info on Missing Boy

By: William C. Lhotka
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, August 26, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — Clayton defense attorney John Rogers won’t have to turn over to a St. Louis County grand jury information he gathered in the case of the mysterious disappearance five years ago of Christian Ferguson, a disabled, 9-year-old boy, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled today.

In a 6-0 decision written by Judge Patricia Breckenridge, the judges set aside a lower court order telling Rogers to give the grand jury investigating the case transcripts of an interview he conducted of a relative of the man police have defined as a possible suspect in the case.

Rogers represented the man whom police called a person of interest in the case. Rogers argued successfully before the high court that his interview with a relative of that person is protected by attorney-client privilege.

On June 11, 2003, Dawan Ferguson, Christian’s father, called 911 from a pay phone at Skinker and Page boulevards and said someone took his SUV with his son inside it.

The van was later recovered in the city of Ferguson. The boy, who suffered from a severe metabolic disorder, has never been seen since.

“The grand jury did not plead or prove ‘any’ reasonable need for the statement,” Breckenridge wrote. She said police had interviewed the relative of the potential suspect in 2003, the year of Christian’s disappearance, and Rogers obtained a statement from the same person in 2007.

“The grand jury has not alleged or proved that it was unable to obtain a subsequent statement or procure testimony” from the relative, Breckenridge said.

Rogers had argued his own case to the high court, along with Brocca Smith. Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch and assistants David Truman and Kathi Alizadeh had sought the order to compel Rogers to turn over interview transcripts to the grand jury as part the investigation of Christian’s disappearance.

No charges have ever been filed in the case.