Naze Nani Grand Jury Duty

The purpose of the grand jury is to act as a check on prosecutorial overreach. An assistant district attorney (ADA, though I’m going to be lazy and type “DA” from here on out) will present their case, and the grand jury is supposed to decide if, in the absence of any defense, they would find the defendant guilty. The entire argument is biased and one-sided—and it’s meant to be. If the DA cannot make their case in even the most favorable light, then they have no business taking it to a courtroom.

I know that a certain recent national story has suggested that grand juries weigh “all” the evidence, or other nonsense. That’s completely against everything I was told.

Note that the DA doesn’t necessarily present their entire case. They can (as you might expect) omit details that aren’t favorable to them, but what I didn’t expect is that they can also omit details that further condemn an individual, if they think the facts they’ve presented are sufficient.

Only felonies have to be presented to the grand jury, though the DA has the option of presenting misdemeanors if they want to do a test-run of their case. I’ve heard that this is because, historically, felonies were offenses where the defendant could potentially face death as a punishment. (Not all felonies are presented to the grand jury, either, though I’m not entirely certain about which ones are not—plea deals, maybe more? In those situations, the DA files an information.)

Historically, grand juries were independent investigative bodies that could open their own inquiries into potential crimes. The modern grand jury I sat on now just has an annual duty to visit the Children’s Farm Home and verify that all seems to be well there. My term did not coincide with that annual visit, thankfully.


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