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Old 02-21-2019, 01:22 PM
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Default Grand Fucking Juries: How do they work?

Okay, no one's mentioned the fucked-up case of Jussie Smollett's reported assault. So I'm going to.

I have made a bit of a fool of myself trying to counter the flood of Trumpistas crying "foul" and drawing weaponised parallels between Smollett's victimhood and that of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and others. (I'm eating some crow pie now. I'm thinking I'm probably one of many ...) Among all the strangenesses of this case, I am puzzled by this one:-

According to the NYT report (see link above) Smollett was charged by local prosecutors after a grand jury heard evidence on Wednesday that he had falsely reported being attacked.

Consulting wiki(IANAL)pedia, I read that the function of a grand jury is to accuse persons who may be guilty of a crime. A grand jury having been convened, I would have expected Smollett to be indicted by the jury or not at all.

:ff: lawbods, please dispel the strange!
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Old 02-21-2019, 03:27 PM
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Default Re: Grand Fucking Juries: How do they work?

The state can't (in theory, at least) arrest someone or place someone on trial absent probable cause, i.e., reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has been committed and that the suspect did it. A grand jury's job is to determine whether probable cause exists. A true bill, commonly known as an indictment, is a GJ determination that probable cause exists. A no bill is a determination of no probable cause.

A GJ indictment doesn't necessarily guarantee a prosecution. The prosecutor still has discretion not to pursue the case. If the prosecutor decides to go forward, it's up to him or her commence a criminal proceeding by filing the indictment in the appropriate court.

Every state in the U.S. has some form of grand jury system, but only about half require a GJ indictment as a condition precedent to commencing a prosecution. Depending on where you are and the crime at issue, a judge can make the probable cause determination post-arrest following an evidentiary hearing.

Finally, :lol:@filing a false report = "disorderly conduct" in Illinois.
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Old 02-21-2019, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: Grand Fucking Juries: How do they work?

Illinois Grand Juror Handbook

Matlock's statements jive with my 7th grade civics class understanding of grand juries. My more cynical understanding of a grand jury is that they generally approve of whatever the prosecutor asks.

Also, the grand jury does not have the same process as a criminal trial.
Quote:
Generally the Prosecutor will arrange to have witnesses available to appear before the grand jury and ordinarily only witnesses for the State will be called to testify. In this way, proceedings before the grand jury differ from a trial of a case. However, the grand jury itself has the right to subpoena and question any person against whom the Prosecutor is seeking a Bill of Indictment, or any other person, and to obtain and examine any documents or transcripts relevant to the matter being presented by the Prosecutor.
Essentially, the Prosecutor gives a presentation to the grand jury, up to choosing witnesses to testify for the Prosecutor. The grand jury has the ability to dig into the Prosecutor's case and even call witnesses of their own. I'd be curious how often they push back that hard.
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Old 02-22-2019, 01:39 AM
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Default Re: Grand Fucking Juries: How do they work?

As an aside, I grew up in the Chicago area, and I know there are racist POS all over Chicago and the collar counties. I only got the vaguest of details on the alleged attack, but I had some initial impressions:

There are no places in downtown Chicago (or Chicago in general) that I'd think are "MAGA country" - a pretty bold declaration to make in a heavily Democratic city & state. Even Republican areas in DuPage county are barely majorities, and the DuPage Republicans aren't overwhelmingly the "MAGA" type.

Why were these random assholes prepared with masks and a rope? It would have had to have been people who specifically came into the city to prey on black people.

It all seemed possible but not exactly likely. Ironically, it would be more likely for him to be harassed/beat up/shot by a Chicago cop.

I refrained from making any comment on this until more details came about.
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