House committee hears resolution to allow voters to decide if grand juries should be legal in Missouri
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House committee hears resolution to allow voters to decide if grand juries should be legal in Missouri

Date: February 11, 2015
By: Jill Ornitz
State Capitol Bureau
Links: HJR17

Intro: 
Missouri's voters would be able to vote on whether they think grand juries should be legal under state law if a resolution heard in a House committee is passed.
RunTime:  0:38
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: The resolution sponsored by Jackson County Democrat Brandon Ellington would allow voters to repeal Missouri's constitutional amendment that allows for grand jury proceedings, yet no one at the hearing explicitly mentioned Ferguson.

Ellington said the grand jury process has devastating consequences for the accused, even though the proceedings are secret.

Actuality:  ELLING3.WAV
Run Time:  00:07
Description: "You're indicted or if you're even going through the grand jury process, the people that are coming in are in secrecy, but your life is already in shambles."

Opponents told the House Civil and Criminal Proceedings Committee that citizen grand jurors take their responsibilities seriously.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Jill Ornitz.

Intro: 
Voters in Missouri may be able to overturn a constitutional amendment that makes grand juries legal if a resolution is passed.
RunTime:  0:40
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: Jackson County Democrat Brandon Ellington is sponsoring the resolution. He told the House Civil and Criminal Proceedings Committee that grand jurors are not educated enough on the legal system to ask the right questions during proceedings.

Actuality:  ELLING2.WAV
Run Time:  00:18
Description: "It's like, I'll use my kids as examples. We'll go outside and we'll look at the stars. They don't know anything about string theory, they don't know anything about multiplex dimensions or galaxies, or anything like that. So their questions aren't going to be as in depth as somebody that understands science or somebody that understands astrology. And it's the same when we talk about grand juries."

Opponents told the committee that grand jurors take their responsibilities very seriously.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Jill Ornitz.

 

Intro: 
Opponents of a resolution that would allow Missouri's voters to decide if grand juries should be illegal said prosecutors act as presenters of information.
RunTime:  0:36
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson told the House Civil and Criminal Proceedings Committee that prosecutors work to present information to jurors during grand jury proceedings. He said if prosecutors abandon that role, there are ways to appropriately address that.

Actuality:  MRICH2.WAV
Run Time:  00:10
Description: "If a prosecutor became an advocate in front of the grand jury as opposed to a presenter of evidence, then that forman can go to the presiding judge, that superintends over the grand jury, and say that."

Jackson County Democrat Brandon Ellington is sponsoring the resolution. No direct reference to Ferguson was made during the hearing.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Jill Ornitz.


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