- Oct 13, 2001
Thank you for an excellent summary of the Grand Jury process.I am not sure what "unbreakable" means in this context. It this a typo?
First, all Grand Jury proceedings are secret, both State and Federal. I have never had any prosecutor ever tell me anything about the proceedings ever. I have managed to see transcripts from a total of one Grand Jury hearing ever and that was in 1999. In one state courthouse where I practiced extensively, even the lawyers were forbidden from carrying their phones into the building to make sure none of the Grand Jurors would be videoed or otherwise recorded. Color me skeptical that anyone outside of the GJ knows what evidence was presented.
Second, under the GJ statute, the GJ has a right to request the production of documents or other evidence. This includes social media posts. It is very important to remember that like a Preliminary hearing in County Court (which all those charged with a felony have the right to have), the Rules of Evidence do not apply, as apposed to trial, and the standard of proof is very low (Does Probable Cause exist to show that a felony may have occurred and that the accused may have had something to do with it). If so the case is bound over to the District Court for trial. In GJ cases, if that low burden is met, then the case is directly filed to the District Court for trial (as here).
Third, Self Defense is an affirmative defense. That means that the accused has the burden of presenting evidence (this is important) AT TRIAL TO THE FINDER OF FACT (jury or judge is accused waives right to jury trial). It is the finder of fact that weighs
the evidence and decides if the accused acted in self defense.
I have no dog in this fight. It is tragic that two young men are dead before their time. Everybody is entitled to their own opinions, but the amount of garbage spewed by those who have grossly uninformed opinions is breathtaking.