Monday, March 16, 2009

Grand jury midterm report

As I previously reported I have been serving on a grand jury . I am now halfway done having served for 5 days. Some thoughts follow.

Sol_Wachtler , a former chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals (the highest court in New York), once famously claimed that a grand jury could be persuaded to indict a ham sandwich. This is a bit of an exaggeration but based on my experience so far a grand jury will generally go along with what the prosecutor wants. Which leads me to question whether they are cost effective. As the wikipedia article notes many states have abolished grand juries replacing them with a preliminary hearing before a judge. This is clearly more efficient and I doubt much is being lost. It is no great hardship for me to serve but I expect many of my fellow jurors have better things to do.

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