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grandjuries
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Man Gets Indicted By His Pacemaker

Actually, the case was indicted by a grand jury in Ohio, which charged him with arson and insurance fraud. Apparently, the man called 911 as his home burned in the background. He said he was sleeping when the fire started and that, in a hurry, he packed a bunch of bags, broke a window with his cane, threw the Read More

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Two Sneak Peeks Inside a Grand Jury

It’s not every day that grand jurors write about their experiences, but here are two who did. Both recently served on grand juries in New York, and they offer competing takes on this corner of our justice system. The first juror emerged from the experience with an awareness of the power of prosecutors, who dominate the process. The Read More

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New California Criminal Laws: Do-Over

Speaking of new laws, last year we wrote about Senate Bill 227, which changed the Penal Code so that grand juries could no longer criminally indict or investigate a police officer’s deadly use of force. The stated rationale behind the law was that grand juries undermined the public’s trust in such cases because they lacked transparency and accountability. For Read More

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New California Criminal Laws in 2016

Happy New Year! And with it, here are five important criminal laws that went into effect. Courts must report prosecutors for bad-faith Brady violations. This is Assembly Bill 1328. It amends the Penal Code to provide that a court must report a prosecutor to the State Bar who it finds, by clear and convincing evidence, has deliberately withheld exculpatory evidence in Read More

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A Riff on California Grand Juries

The Grand-Jury Clause of the Fifth Amendment applies only to the federal government, not the states, but even so, about half of the states choose to require a grand-jury indictment in order to prosecute a felony case. In other states, like California, prosecutors have the discretion to decide whether to proceed by indictment or by complaint, preliminary hearing, Read More

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Sunlight, They Say, is the Best Disinfectant

Amid recent, controversial grand-jury proceedings in New York, Missouri, and elsewhere, one prominent criminal-defense lawyer, Harvey Silverglate, still favors greater use of grand juries, especially in cases that arouse popular passion, suspicion, or cynicism. He’s probably right. Mr. Silverglate, who also litigates civil-liberties cases, warns those who blame grand juries that the alternative in these cases isn’t better: “While the grand jury’s decision not to indict may, to some, taste of Read More

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