The Campaign For DA

1.18.2008

The Grand Jury Myth


There are few things as outdated as a grand jury.

In theory, any felony case must be "indicted" by a grand jury after they are presented with evidence that a crime probably occurred and the defendant probably did it. But in reality, the grand jury rarely hears any testimony but instead a summary of the case from the DA's office. And 99.9% of the time, the grand jury simply follows the prosecutors recommendation to either indict or "no bill" the case.

With that, comes the crazy story of Supreme Court Justice David Medina. He and his wife were indicted yesterday by a Harris County grand jury against the wishes of the prosecutor. So what does the prosecutor do today? He dismisses the indictment. There's nothing the grand jury can do to prevent that.

Most prosecutors would avoid that situation by simply not presenting the case to the grand jury at all. That's the typical way weak cases are killed. But it looks like the DA's office were after Justice Medina but then changed their minds a little too late.