Grand jury seen as unusual at this stage in Jackson case-Newspress

Posted by

[b]Grand jury seen as unusual at this stage in Jackson case[/b] 3/11/04 By DAWN HOBBS NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER Convening a grand jury at this stage in the child molestation case against Michael Jackson is an unexpected move and a tricky one for prosecutors, legal experts said Wednesday. Because a grand jury proceeding shields witnesses from the questions of defense attorneys, it is often seen to favor the prosecution. But there are potential pitfalls for Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Sneddon, experts said… “That’s where the concern arises — when you are running a grand jury at the same time you are preparing for trial,” said Mr. Uelman, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law. He cautioned that it can be an abuse of the grand jury process, which is meant to determine whether there is even enough evidence to bring a case. He said he would expect the defense in the Jackson case to file a motion asking that the court supervise the way the grand jury is used to ensure that it is kept separate from the pending case… He said it was “unheard of” for a district attorney to file criminal charges and then convene a grand jury. “If he uncovered some other crimes he wants to charge, he should just dismiss the pending charges and then go to trial on a grand jury indictment that includes the pending charges,” Mr. Uelman said… Laurie Levenson, professor at the Loyola School of Law, said: “It could mean he just wants to handle everything in secret and avoid a preliminary hearing, or it could mean he doesn’t have much of a case and doesn’t want to proceed, but is letting the grand jury take the political heat when they don’t indict…” If the grand jury does not hand down an indictment, Mr. Sneddon could still proceed to a preliminary hearing. But Ms. Levenson wouldn’t advise it. “The standard is so low for a grand jury that if you can’t convince them to indict, you have to think long and hard before you pursue the case.” … :nav [url=]Read FULL Article[/url] :3pinned [url=]Your Comments?[/url]

Leave a Reply