For transparency and accountability
- 15 – states have permitted the accused to have counsel in the grand jury room, including Florida, Oklahoma, and Utah.
- 31 – states plus the federal government require full transcription of grand proceedings, excluding votes and deliberation.
- Texas currently allows prosecutors to resubmit the same failed case to subsequent grand juries on an unlimited number of occasions during the statute of limitations, even if no new material evidence will be presented.
While grand juries were created with the intention to provide citizens protection from oppressive prosecution and provide a means for the community to act as a check on governmental powers, throughout the years these proceedings have begun to operate at the expense of the accused’s Constitutional guarantees. In Texas, grand jury proceedings are ripe for abuse and inconsistent outcomes, and very few of the same constitutional protections afforded to an individual post-indictment are provided at the grand jury.
“A grand jury would indict a ham sandwich, if that’s what you wanted.”Sol Wachtler, New York State Chief Judge
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