Monday, May 11, 2009

The Grand Jury Process

Have you ever been notified to serve on a Grand Jury? Probably not. It is not a common occurrence as far as I can tell. So what is a Grand Jury? Well our constitution tells us that "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury". Well who are these people? They are ordinary citizens and until about 1946 they would meet regularly and form presentments on such things as government performance or the condition of roads and bridges. But they have always meet to determine if a person or a government official may have committed a crime. And they did this on their own, citizens gathering to discuss and investigate. However the "rules" if you will were changed over the years to allow local and federal prosecutors to take control of grand juries. Most if not all grand jury members today do not realize 1.) That they have the power of the constitution behind them in terms of subpoena powers and 2.) That they can investigate on their own. Mostly the process today is that the jurors listen to a prosecutor and vote on that presentment.

Our framers were fearful of a runaway government and were careful to include a mechanism for the people to redress grievances of government. This is the primary purpose of the grand jury.

I bring this up because many people, including judges, lawyers, prosecutors, and politicians believe that the grand jury is a function of government. That could not be father from the truth. The grand jury is a right, and responsibility of the people granted and charged by the constitution and has a history that is as old as the document that the grand jury and our country was founded by.

I have been following the American Grand Jury's effort and have published their press releases. I have received emails and comments describing this effort as tin foil hat wearing wingnuts. So I thought I would try to curb the ignorance that is so prevelent so as to soften the blow when the OMG moment occurs.

Reference articles;

There are many many more.....We The People ARE the government and we need to educate ourselves. I am ashamed to say that until this election cycle I did not understand our election process completely, our eligibility requirements, and a host of other items that I now understand. Shame on me and you if you don't understand how our government is supposed to work and what we the people have to do with it. I am 53 years old and have voted in all elections that I was eligible to vote in. But all I did was vote. While that might be more than most is was not enough because I wasn't informed. I betrayed my fellow Americans by casting uninformed votes. It is hard for me to admit that but after my education of the last year or so I can come to no other conclusion.

You may disagree with me, or you may agree, but I emplore you to research all you can and be informed as much as you can before you pull another lever.


No comments:

Post a Comment