Sunday, January 15, 2006
Grand Jury Abuse has been the subject of much concern. (See Commission Report to Reform the Grand Jury Process here). So it is not surprising to see this issue arising in the white collar case against Lynchburg Mayor Carl Hutcherson, who faces charges of "mail fraud, Social Security fraud, lying to federal officials and obstruction of justice." Conor Reilly of the News Advance has a wonderful article here detailing the allegations of grand jury abuse being alleged in this particular case. The article quotes Professor Darryl Brown at Washington & Lee on the incredible prosecutorial discretion provided to prosecutors in presenting items in a grand jury. Every time I teach the case of United States v. Williams, 504 U.S. 36 (1992) I am reminded of the incredible unchecked power that prosecutors have in the grand jury process. It is important to stress to students that even though abuses in the grand jury may be overlooked on review, it does not mean that they should be tolerated. One would hope that the Office of Professional Responsibility of the Attorney General would monitor the abuses that occur.
(esp) (hat tip to Jack King at NACDL)