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Monday, September 17, 2012

Grand Jury: "Ripped From the Headlines"

I'm teaching Criminal Procedure: Adjudication this semester, and last week we talked about the Grand Jury.  Of course, I planned a discussion of common criticisms of the grand jury and proposals for reform.  Just a few days before class I read this article in the New York Times, describing a case in which a Bronx grand jury refused to indict Luis Solivan on the charge of assaulting a police officer after watching a home-made video of police conduct during his arrest.  That incident is now the subject of a civil suit by Mr. Solivan alleging police brutality.  The case provided an example of the grand jury arguably acting as a voice of the community, a role similar to what Prof. Adriaan Lanni has described in her writings on "community justice."  It provided an excellent complement to our discussion of reforms suggested by Prof. Roger Fairfax in his piece Grand Jury Innovation: Toward a Functional Makeover of the Ancient Bulwark of Liberty.  It also got us thinking about the possibilities for technology (citizen-made video and audio recordings) to bring about a remaking of the grand jury's historic role, furthering the project that Fairfax has described as "Grand Jury 2.0."  I'm now excited to read the book of essays by that name that Prof. Fairfax has edited, particularly the one by Prof. Lanni describing the concept of a "neighborhood grand jury."

Posted by GiovannaShay on September 17, 2012 at 08:45 PM | Permalink

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