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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Grand juries (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

balducci
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Apparently the U.S. is "virtually the only country that retains grand juries". Other nations have had them in the past, but they have done away with them.

So do you think the U.S. grand jury system is a good thing or a bad thing? Or just an anachronism?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_jury
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
Dannydoyle
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It is a great thing.
Danny Doyle
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landmark
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Why?
Dannydoyle
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What is your alternative?
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
mastermindreader
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The very real alternative is to simply let the prosecutors and police file charges and let them be proven in open court.

Too often Grand Juries are used as star chambers for the prosecution and, as we've seen illustrated in Ferguson and NYC, they are also used, on occasion, to pass the buck when a prosecutors own personal biases prevent him from doing his job properly. The problem is that police and prosecutors, for the most part, are on the same team. Therefore, I think it would be wise to appoint special prosecutors in cases in which the police stand accused of misconduct.
Dannydoyle
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To much power in the hands of too few people.
Danny Doyle
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<BR>In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act....George Orwell
FatherWilliam57
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Bob, as I understand it, the governor has the authority to appoint a special prosecutor at his own discretion. If this is true, do you know if any reason was given for the governor not intervening in the Ferguson case? Is this authority somehow limited?
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mastermindreader
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Father William- I believe that authority may vary from state to state.

In this case, the governor actually called for a vigorous prosecution of Wilson. But, in the statement he made, he seemed to imply that the prosecutor would have to recuse himself before a special prosecutor could be appointed. Which, frankly, puzzles me.

Quote:
...[Governor] Nixon said he would not remove St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch from the case despite the demands of some black leaders who believe that McCulloch's deep family ties to law enforcement would affect his impartiality. McCullouch's father, mother, brother, uncle and cousin all worked for the St. Louis Police Department, and his father was killed while responding to a call involving a black suspect.

In his statement, Nixon cited what he called the "well-established process" by which prosecutors can recuse themselves from pending investigations to make way for a special prosecutor. Departing from that process, Nixon said in a statement, "could unnecessarily inject legal uncertainty into this matter and potentially jeopardize the prosecution."


http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/08/20/mis......ng-case/

Perhaps if the governor knew that McCullough had no intention whatsoever of vigorously prosecuting the case, he might have decided differently. For the only one who jeopardized the prosecution was the prosecutor himself.
stoneunhinged
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Quincy made a case against grand juiries decades ago, but no one listened.

I pointed this out in another thread, but got no response.

Hey, is this microphone even on?
balducci
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On Dec 5, 2014, stoneunhinged wrote:
Quincy made a case against grand juiries decades ago, but no one listened.

I pointed this out in another thread, but got no response.

Sure we listen. And that show you were thinking of was Lou Grant.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYDvoDNYRJ0

Smile
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
stoneunhinged
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YES! Lou Grant!

Thanks for making my day, Balducci.
landmark
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On Dec 4, 2014, Dannydoyle wrote:
What is your alternative?

I really haven't thought about it at all. That's why I asked. I wasn't trying to challenge you, just seeking more information.
balducci
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Let us be clear I am talking about grand juries at the local state level, not the federal.

If calling a grand jury is an option of the prosecutor's, and the prosecutor is free to ignore its recommendation, I guess I do not see the point of the GJ.

Apparently GJ's _used_ to serve some useful purposes and play a meaningful role, but those purposes are largely (entirely?) extinct today.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_jurie......d_States

"In the early decades of the United States grand juries played a major role in public matters. During that period counties followed the traditional practice of requiring all decisions be made by at least twelve of the grand jurors, (e.g., for a twenty-three-person grand jury, twelve people would constitute a bare majority). Any citizen could bring a matter before a grand jury directly, from a public work that needed repair, to the delinquent conduct of a public official, to a complaint of a crime, and grand juries could conduct their own investigations. In that era most criminal prosecutions were conducted by private parties, either a law enforcement officer, a lawyer hired by a crime victim or his family, or even by laymen. A layman could bring a bill of indictment to the grand jury; if the grand jury found there was sufficient evidence for a trial, that the act was a crime under law, and that the court had jurisdiction, it would return the indictment to the complainant. The grand jury would then appoint the complaining party to exercise the authority of an attorney general, that is, one having a general power of attorney to represent the state in the case. The grand jury served to screen out incompetent or malicious prosecutions. The advent of official public prosecutors in the later decades of the 19th century largely displaced private prosecutions. The federal constitutional right to have federal criminal charges screened by a grand jury is one of just a handful of provisions of the federal Bill of Rights that does not also apply to state and local governments."
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
silvercup
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mastermindreader wrote:
The problem is that police and prosecutors, for the most part, are on the same team. Therefore, I think it would be wise to appoint special prosecutors in cases in which the police stand accused of misconduct.


Hear! Hear!
Dannydoyle
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I think police should not investigate themselves for a myriad of reasons. Most of them fairly obvious I should think.

I do not think a city should even be involved in the investigation of its own police. I have no solution but I think it is an obvious conflict.
Danny Doyle
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rockwall
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Quote:
On Dec 5, 2014, Dannydoyle wrote:
I think police should not investigate themselves for a myriad of reasons. Most of them fairly obvious I should think.

I do not think a city should even be involved in the investigation of its own police. I have no solution but I think it is an obvious conflict.


I don't know enough about the reasons for grand juries to have a strong opinion but I agree pretty strongly with Danny's points.
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