No Grand Juries, No Liberty | Letters | Salt Lake City Weekly

No Grand Juries, No Liberty 

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What is a grand jury? What purpose does it serve? What branch of government does it belong to?

If you can’t answer these questions, you suffer from TRED: a trampling of rights by education deprivation. Trial juries find facts necessary to convict, while grand juries find facts necessary to begin prosecution. Randomly selected citizens are selected and sworn in larger numbers (“grand”) than trial, or “petit” juries. They can also generally inquire and make recommendations to improve government.

Their purpose is to provide a separate form of due process with greater scrutiny when the right to impartiality outweighs the right to a speedy trial. This buffer between the people and overzealous or inactive prosecutors is the only fair way to investigate and prosecute government officials.

The grand jury is assigned to no branch of the government. It’s a constitutional fixture in its own right, of nothing but the people, as their independent political arm of justice. Separated powers are breached when grand juries are reduced to a form of despotism.

Without free public access—where government officers have secret access, and instruct jurors on duties in a culture of jury incompetence—the people’s buffer becomes a puppet for government whims, and corruption is safe. The popular musing that a prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich via grand juries is evidence. A trampling on the grand jury is a trampling on the people.

Just saying “no” to drugs and alcohol frees you from chains of addiction, and saying “don’t TRED on me” with respect to grand juries is the best way to know liberty.

Matthew Falkner

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