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California Becomes First State to Ban Grand Juries in Police Shooting Cases

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posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 07:56 PM
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California doing their thing again. This seems like a logical first step to me, but I'm still pondering all the ramifications. If you've ever served on a grand jury, you can probably relate as to how jurors are presented information from only one side as they make the decision whether to indict or not indict.

It's almost as if you're taken under the wing of the prosecutory part of the judicial system and made part of the club. And given those circumstances, it's a pretty hard decision to make to indict an officer of the law, particularly after sitting there week after week and seeing the very worst of society in hundreds and hundreds of cases.


"It’s very rare that an officer gets charged with a homicide offense resulting from their on-duty conduct even though people are killed on a fairly regular basis," Philip Stinson, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green who received a federal grant to study arrests of police officers, told the Wall Street Journal.

In addition to the grand jury bill, Brown signed a measure that ensures the right of civilians to record or photograph the police in public areas. In the past, some civilians who have done so have been arrested, or told to stop, for obstructing justice. [Source]


Gov. Brown signs law barring grand juries in police deadly force cases

It appears that with the new system, the prosecutors alone will make the decisions, which I'm not sure is all that much better in the end. Neither way seems all that ideal to me, so I don't know what the best situation would be. Panels of some sort maybe, maybe made up of more that just civilians and/or the prosecution.


edit on 8/13/2015 by ~Lucidity because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:00 PM
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a reply to: ~Lucidity

Happy to give credit where it is due, Brown has been relatively good on corruption at least publicly.



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:09 PM
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perhaps if body cams were implented in every state and were mandatory, then cases of police brutality or in instances where cops shoot a citizen there is video evidence.

not only is this benificial to to the public, but also to police officers who constantly come under fire for using deadly force even if the circumstances required it..i would think police (who do their jobs properly) would embrace this so they dont end up as another darren wilson and have their careers and lives destroyed over lies.

and it would help curtail and make officers think twice about being too heavy handed.....at least if this is in place then video evidence used in court would help prosecuters come to a more knowledgable and swifter outcome



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:11 PM
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a reply to: kellyjay

Definitely agree. Video evidence, although not always infallible and often subject to interpretation and context, as we see debated here often, is better to have. The cases we heard where there was video were a lot easier to decide. Serving on a grand jury is pretty amazing experience actually. You learn a lot about the law and your community, that's for sure.
edit on 8/13/2015 by ~Lucidity because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:15 PM
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a reply to: greencmp

He has done some pretty impressive things to turn that state around. Not all perfect but they've come a long way in a short time. California in general takes the lead in some pretty important issues, again not perfectly, but at least they're trying.



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:15 PM
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a reply to: ~Lucidity

So essentially with this law the prosecutor has to sell himself a ham sandwich?



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:16 PM
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originally posted by: ~Lucidity
a reply to: kellyjay

Definitely agree. The cases we heard where there was video were a lot easier to decide. Serving on a grand jury is pretty amazing experience actually. You learn a lot.


definately, a lot of the videos we see uploaded to youtube, or twitter that the public have taken is usually AFTER the fact, or mid way through or conveniently leaves out what happened before the cop pulled his gun or aggresively restrained the person, so they usually give a myopic view, at least with body cams the whole incident is recorded and a better grap of the situation is available



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:16 PM
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a reply to: ~Lucidity

That's a good start, but if you really think about it Grand Juries should be ended in all but the most extreme cases for everyone. Basically, a grand jury allows a prosecutor to get a case to trial without that case being prima facie. In venues where a preliminary hearing is held, prosecutors have to work much harder to get the case to trial.



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:18 PM
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a reply to: bobval

Yeah...it's pretty lopsided. From my one experience with it over two months, we heard about 1000 cases and no billed only three. And guess what two of them were?
edit on 8/13/2015 by ~Lucidity because: i am typing badly



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:18 PM
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a reply to: ~Lucidity

The prosecutorial role with police and grand juries is definitely corrupted and a solution needs to be found but unless I'm missing some kind of context here... this law is unconstitutional and violates the 5th Amendment, unless we're going to decide as a nation that the police force is the militia which would be an epic mistake.

I appreciate the tone of the bill and the desire to fix a massive problem but it can't stand and California risks a lot by going forward with this.



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:21 PM
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a reply to: Kali74

Yeah, I'm sure we may be missing some subtext here, and basically what it seems to be saying is that it just cuts out the pesky civilians who don't really know the law all that well? I don't know. Maybe someone will.

As for unconsitutional? It's not really denying someone a trial or anything like 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, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be ...


I guess if ya stretch it, the exception here might be public danger? Not sure.



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:21 PM
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a reply to: ~Lucidity

you guys are telling me your behind the suspension of Due Process?



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:24 PM
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a reply to: ~Lucidity

Public danger might be it. It's still worrisome to me, this doesn't feel like a good solution.



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:24 PM
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Now, Brown needs to create a specialized police prosecution commission whose only task is to investigate and indict LEOs. And incentivize them by head count.

If you have prosecutors who depend on LEO cooperation tasked with prosecuting those same LEOs, it's not ever going to happen unless the prosecutor is more afraid of his electorate than the police unions. By making busting cops your only job and your performance metric, you'll see a lot more aggressiveness and a lot fewer nol prosses.
edit on 13-8-2015 by Bedlam because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:24 PM
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originally posted by: fixitwcw
a reply to: ~Lucidity

you guys are telling me your behind the suspension of Due Process?

Again, it doesn't seem as if anyone is being denied due process. They're just not using grand juries, which

I'd sure like to believe they have smarter legal minds than mine on this and considered both the Fifth and due process in their drafting and passing of the bill.

Also, it doesn't appear that grand juries are required...they are a prosecutorial option.

6 of your questions about grand juries, answered
edit on 8/13/2015 by ~Lucidity because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:28 PM
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a reply to: Kali74

What would be a great solution is if the prosecuting attorney was chosen by the charging party rather than the same guy that works hand in hand with the police.



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:29 PM
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a reply to: Kali74

Actually, the police officer charged will still be afforded a preliminary hearing. The Constitution doesn't stipulate which means shall be used, it just spells out that the prosecutor must show that he/she has sufficient cause to take it to trial. That is better for both sides, and the public. All preliminary hearings are a matter of public record. The public will immediately know if the prosecutor is pussyfooting around the case to help the police officer charged.



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:30 PM
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a reply to: Bedlam
Yikes parts of that are a bit harsh, but yeah...sorta like that. They're all on the same side. A special prosecutor sort of panel might be a good move. Someone who doesn't work with the same people they find themselves needing to potentially prosecute.

edit on 8/13/2015 by ~Lucidity because: I don't know what yiles means LOL



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:36 PM
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originally posted by: bobval
The public will immediately know if the prosecutor is pussyfooting around the case to help the police officer charged.



You can tell by seeing if the prosecutor states that he's waiting for the results of the IA investigation.

IA has no legal status. It's sort of an HR thing for cops. It's not a criminal investigation at all. They may recommend one, but they don't have to. But so many cop shows pitch the IA investigation as a finding of criminal wrongdoing that the prosecutor can get away with it.

The prosecutor shouldn't depend on this nor wait for it, they should be doing a proper criminal investigation, or having one done by a different agency - that's their job. When you see "we have to wait for IA", what the guy is saying is "I'm going to wait for this to die down some, then use IA's rubberstamp as an excuse to nol pros".



posted on Aug, 13 2015 @ 08:37 PM
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a reply to: bobval

The Constitution specifies Grand Jury.




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