Jerry Summers: Sanctity Of A Grand Jury

  • Saturday, March 18, 2023
  • Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers

Whether you are a Joe Biden Democrat or Donald Trump Republican there is a bigger question involved in the fiasco of a case taking place, in the Metropolitan Atlanta county of Fulton in the Peach State.

It is the sanctity of the time honored tradition of the rights of an accused and witnesses to have their case presented “by an impartial body of citizens” in a grand jury to ensure that a “fair trial” proceeds to take place rather than an unconstitutional and politically motivated exercise that in my opinion alone does not comply with the due process requirements guaranteed by the State of Georgia and United States Constitution.

The eternal conflict between the First Amendment constitutional right of “freedom of speech or of the press” versus the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments constitutional right to “due process of law” and the Sixth amendment’s constitutional right to an“impartial jury”(special grand jury also?) are already being raised by the unwise ego media trip by the young foreperson of the special grand jury.

Georgia grand jury law is different from that in the Volunteer State and whether that state’s loosening of the secrecy provision in its statutes and constitution can survive judicial scrutiny under the special protection given by the courts to grand jury actions in order to ensure a “fair trial”to all parties is questionable?

A continuing series on the Georgia case by Anna Bower, reporter for the LawFareblog, provides a synopsis of the Georgia cases and law that provides information that exists in that state's grand jury secrecy provision. If this case occurred in Tennessee it my sole opinion that the thirty year old foreperson would be served a subpoena issued by the judge in charge of the grand jury, the prosecutor or defense counsel for the fair damsel to appear and show cause why she should not be held in contempt for revealing real or circumstantial evidence pursuant to the “secrecy of the grand jury” provisions of our state and federal constitutions.

Georgia’s grand jury statutes in this area have been expanded by the state legislature but the question remains would it withstand a constitutional attack in appellate courts?

In my limited experience, what has taken place with the media tour of the foreperson in potential violation of the great historical deference given to the protection of the “secrecy of grand jury proceedings” does not pass” the smell test!

In the politically charged environment of 2023, perhaps the judicial system may make the right decision and “fair and impartial justice” will result.

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You can reach Jerry Summers at jsummers@summersfirm.com

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