Assuming a grand jury determines not to true bill a case, may they nevertheless render "findings" indicating their opinion as to the facts presented in the form of some sort of report? One hears about such findings being issued in federal grand jury investigations, but I'm not sure whether such a report is proper from a state grand jury. If it is, and anybody has done such a report before, I would appreciate a chance to see what one looks like. I can imagine it might come up in many cases where official misconduct is alleged, or high profile media cases in which the grand jury declines to indict. It would be nice to have an official document indicating the reasons why the State is not proceeding on the case in the event there is controversy about what the grand jury was told and not told, but I'm not sure how that plays with the secrecy requirement.
The history of the grand jury does not support any creation or release of a "report." The grand jury works in secret and only releases a decision (true bill or no bill).
Expanding that decision to include an explanation would violate the grand jury secrecy law and open grand jurors and (if supported by prosecutors) prosecutors to liability for civil and criminal violations, in my humble opinion.
I strongly oppose encouraging a grand jury to engage in social engineering by "explaining" to the public their decisions. That is quite contrary to the notion of grand jury secrecy.
A prosecutor should not need an explanation to "hide" behind. He should be explaining to the public the function of the grand jury, its independence, and the respect that should be accorded their decision.
You have not lived until you have seen a "runaway" grand jury in action.
Prosecutors have a responsibility to teach grand jurors about their role. We hold 4 one-hour lectures at the beginning of each of the first four grand jury meetings to edcuate them on the history and function of the grand jury. It seems to reduce the likelihood of the grand jury misunderstanding or misuing their role.
Thanks for the information. Since I haven't heard from anybody who has ever had a grand jury do such a report, I am going to assume that the consensus is that such a report would not jibe with the secrecy requirement. I mentioned to the D.A. that I didn't think that would be legal, but he wanted me to check with some of the larger counties and see what, if anything, they might know about it.
Wes: I seem to recall that a long time ago a grand jury investigating Bob Bullock failed to indict him, but issued a report. As i vaguely recall, they got sued and were forced to withdraw the "report" as it is not authorizec by law. Maybe someone reading this has a clearer memory than mine about this incident, but I thing John is right -- it ain't in their job description!
years and years ago, before I was messing with grand juries, we had a grand jury no-bill a case. They were, however, disturbed by what theyheard in the session and they wrote a letter to the entity involved urging the people there to run a tighter ship and instill discipline in its members. I don't know that they mentioned any facts from their session/hearing, but they definitely had some suggestions for the entity, to which some of the accused belonged.
I've also had a grand jury pass a case & instruct me to write a letter to an accused person & tell that person, he was going to be indicted at the next session, if he does not do this or that - like pay restitution, or return missing property. That was odd, but the person, to whom the letter was written, did what was asked & was not indicted. I've never known what to think of that.
I've also had grand jurors want to engage in plea-bargaining too. I tell them, they may make recommendations to the DA's office about what to offer, but they could not make an offer to a defendant themselves.
|Powered by Social Strata|
© TDCAA, 2001. All Rights Reserved.