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Fri May 8, 2015, 08:35 AM

 

California senators approve ban on grand jury investigations into police deaths

Source: Alexei Koseff - [email protected]

Grand juries would be prohibited from investigating police shootings and cases where an individual dies from excessive force during an arrest under a bill passed Thursday by the California state Senate.

Protests sprouted up nationwide last fall after grand juries in Missouri and New York declined to indict white police officers who had killed unarmed black men during confrontations. The system, in which a jury of citizens weighs the evidence to decide whether to bring charges, came under fire for its secrecy.

Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, who introduced Senate Bill 227, argued that the lack of transparency and oversight in grand jury deliberations, which do not involve judges, defense attorneys or cross-examination of witnesses, did not serve the public.

“The use of the criminal grand jury has fostered an atmosphere of suspicion that threatens to compromise the nature of our justice system,” she said.




Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article20444133.html

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Arrow 26 replies Author Time Post
Reply California senators approve ban on grand jury investigations into police deaths (Original post)
FreakinDJ May 2015 OP
Erich Bloodaxe BSN May 2015 #1
FreakinDJ May 2015 #2
DLnyc May 2015 #26
-none May 2015 #4
Erich Bloodaxe BSN May 2015 #6
-none May 2015 #7
FreakinDJ May 2015 #9
-none May 2015 #11
jwirr May 2015 #12
jwirr May 2015 #10
jeff47 May 2015 #18
Helen Borg May 2015 #3
littlewolf May 2015 #5
jwirr May 2015 #14
Trillo May 2015 #19
jwirr May 2015 #20
Trillo May 2015 #22
jwirr May 2015 #23
LiberalFighter May 2015 #8
christx30 May 2015 #17
Calista241 May 2015 #13
malthaussen May 2015 #15
Baitball Blogger May 2015 #16
candelista May 2015 #21
Comrade Grumpy May 2015 #24
Joe Chi Minh May 2015 #25

Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Fri May 8, 2015, 08:38 AM

1. Scratching my head. Is this a good thing, then?

Does it mean that police will be publicly investigated, or does it mean that they won't be investigated at all?

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #1)

Fri May 8, 2015, 08:47 AM

2. A VERY Bad thing

 

Most if not ALL the District Attorneys in this state are affiliated one way or another with the local police debt.

Take the case of Andy Lopez - the 13 yr old boy shot and killed for carrying a toy gun. The District Attorney in that case was married to one of the Sonoma County Sheriffs

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Response to FreakinDJ (Reply #2)

Fri May 8, 2015, 04:39 PM

26. Not only affiliated, they are joined at the hip.

I agree with what you say, but I would say the problem goes deeper.

DA's rely on the police to investigate crimes and make arrests. Police rely on the DA's to cooperate with them in prosecuting cases.

Police misconduct needs to be processed by independent prosecutors, not beholden to either the DA or to the police.

Grand juries (speaking as one who has served on one) are one hundred percent controlled by the DA. The problem in these police misconduct cases is that DA's are involved. Whether or not they go through a grand jury is irrelevant.

IMHO

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #1)

Fri May 8, 2015, 08:53 AM

4. They just took away a tool to investigate suspected wrong doing.

Police can hide behind this. I wonder if the people behind this are/will be pushing that because only the police can fully understand the situation, only police Internal Affairs investigations of police wrong doing will be allowed.

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Response to -none (Reply #4)

Fri May 8, 2015, 08:56 AM

6. So it means less investigation, not public investigations. ugh. nt

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #6)

Fri May 8, 2015, 09:01 AM

7. Yep.

This sounds more like some Red space, like Texas, Oklahoma or Kansas, than California though.

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Response to -none (Reply #4)

Fri May 8, 2015, 09:09 AM

9. Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles

 

Los Angeles - Home of the "Waste-Band" shooting

Their trying to cut the cost of paying out Huge Civil Penalties for unjustified shootings is my only quess

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Response to FreakinDJ (Reply #9)

Fri May 8, 2015, 09:18 AM

11. Instead of dealing with the cause, they are throwing away some of the tools used to find and

fix the problem?

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Response to -none (Reply #4)

Fri May 8, 2015, 09:18 AM

12. Police are already hiding behind the grand juries. Only recently have any police cases been indicted

because of murder and one of those was indicted without a grand jury. The problem with a grand jury is that there is not cross examination of the witnesses. In Ferguson MO the officer was allowed to present his own defense without cross examination. Also the prosecutor knowingly allowed witnesses that were not creditable - like the mentally ill woman who was not even a witness. Many states have gotten rid of the grand jury system.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #1)

Fri May 8, 2015, 09:12 AM

10. When we were watching the Ferguson MO jury aquit many of us talked about this. The grand jury

system is a holdover from English law and is flawed. I cannot remember exactly how. But many states no longer use it and neither does England. But some still do.

I think what happens is that the states that do not use it anymore automatically us a regular jury system to determine these cases.

As to rather it is better. The consensus was that it is better to abandon the grand jury system. But I am not the expert.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #1)

Fri May 8, 2015, 11:17 AM

18. It's a mixed thing.

On the bad side, a grand jury theoretically lets run-of-the-mill people investigate police actions and thus hold them accountable and this eliminates that check.

In practice, that check doesn't happen. The DA has almost complete control over the grand jury - the DA controls who testifies, and the DA answers any questions about the details of the laws involved. And there's no penalty for answering those questions wrong or putting a "spin" on the answer.

Also, grand jury proceedings are secret. So no one but the grand jurors know what went on.

On the good side, a DA/judicial investigation is public. The DA has to show their evidence to a judge, and thus the public, in order to get an indictment. So everyone will see the evidence when a DA seeks an indictment.

But the DA does not have to seek an indictment.

Overall, it's probably better to conduct these investigations in public instead of in secret. But to really fix the problem, something has to be done to handle a DA's conflict of interest when investigating the police.

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Fri May 8, 2015, 08:50 AM

3. More transparency would be good.

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Fri May 8, 2015, 08:54 AM

5. this happened in CA ? WTH ...

I was under the impression that Grand Juries only made a determination
if there was enough evidence to go to trial ...
according to this http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Grand+Jury

A panel of citizens that is convened by a court to decide whether it is appropriate for the government to indict (proceed with a prosecution against) someone suspected of a crime.
An American institution since the colonial days, the grand jury has long played an important role in Criminal Law. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that a person suspected of a federal crime cannot be tried until a grand jury has determined that there is enough reason to charge the person. Review by a grand jury is meant to protect suspects from inappropriate prosecution by the government, since grand jurors are drawn from the general population.


so I guess they are not going to prosecute the police ...

more at the link ...

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Response to littlewolf (Reply #5)

Fri May 8, 2015, 09:24 AM

14. Instead of the grand jury the will be indicted if there is probable cause. Like has happened in

Baltimore. They investigate police cases just like they investigate any other crime. If the prosecutor finds reasonable cause then it goes to trial just like any other crime.

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Response to jwirr (Reply #14)

Fri May 8, 2015, 11:36 AM

19. Riots happened in Baltimore, thus it was something of an aberration,

forcing unusual attention on the circumstances.

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Response to Trillo (Reply #19)

Fri May 8, 2015, 11:39 AM

20. But the point is they did it without a grand jury.

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Response to jwirr (Reply #20)

Fri May 8, 2015, 11:55 AM

22. And my point was would they do it without riots?

Prosecuting cops who kill unjustifiably is so very rare.

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Response to Trillo (Reply #22)

Fri May 8, 2015, 12:18 PM

23. I do not know what Maryland laws require but the states that have abandoned the grand jury

system use probable cause as the reason to indict. Just like in any other crime. The police are treated as citizens who may have broken a law and if there is probable cause then they go straight to a trail just like other citizens. A real trial with a jury, a judge, both sides of the case presented and cross examination. That is not how a grand jury works.

IMO the grand jury system is the reason so few get indicted. The article talks about why they are going to end grand juries in CA.

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Fri May 8, 2015, 09:08 AM

8. Do they have a process that requires the prosecuting attorney to investigate

and prosecute? How does one investigate or prosecute if there is a conflict of interest?

Should anyone in the prosecutor's office be related to a police officer?

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Response to LiberalFighter (Reply #8)

Fri May 8, 2015, 11:06 AM

17. They need an independent prosecutor.

Someone as hostile to the police and ready to investigate them with a lubed up rubber glove, just like a regular person.

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Fri May 8, 2015, 09:21 AM

13. The grand jury, in Ferguson, was used by the DA to present a "case" that the DA

Knew would not result in charges. He essentially rigged the system in favor of the outcome he wanted.

I imagine the Ca law was proposed to prevent this, but without it being replaced by a new, objective, and more transparent system, I don't see how this is supposed to work.

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Fri May 8, 2015, 09:24 AM

15. So, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

If Grand Juries are incompetent to judge police-involved crimes, then they must be incompetent to judge all crimes, n'est-ce pas? So the California State Senate must be in favor of discontinuing the Grand Jury system. Surely, they wouldn't want one part of society to receive special treatment, would they?

-- Mal

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Fri May 8, 2015, 09:56 AM

16. Checks and balances be damned!

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Fri May 8, 2015, 11:53 AM

21. The grand jury system should be abolished entirely.

 

Grand juries have been shown to be rubber stamps for prosecutors. As the saying goes, a DA can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. The Brits abolished their grand jury system years ago for exactly this reason. They think our system is "quaint."

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Fri May 8, 2015, 12:44 PM

24. The sponsor, Holly Williams, is black progressive Democrat.

 

She sees grand juries as places where prosecutors can make police violence cases go away.

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Response to FreakinDJ (Original post)

Fri May 8, 2015, 02:35 PM

25. Slightly tangential, but here is an interesting article

that Marilyn Mosby and Hillary might benefit from reading. It concerns the way in which the perjured media build people up.... to knock them down - specifically here, the afore-mentioned being encouraged by the media to court excessively high expectations.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/theanchoress/2015/05/06/will-media-infatuation-doom-marilyn-mosby/

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