Grand juries are inherently one-sided and shrouded in secrecy. They often listen to weeks of testimony from prosecution witnesses, who are not cross-examined, and in most states, the proceeding must remain completely under wraps. In the end, the panel almost always decides to charge the defendant, with one major exception: when the case involves a police officer.
As you know, in the past two weeks, grand juries in Missouri and New York have declined to indict white police officers responsible for the deaths of unarmed black men, sparking ongoing protests across the country. The Justice Department is now investigating both cases, but some believe that’s only necessary because the grand jury system is broken.
Kari Hongis a criminal law expert and a professor at Boston College Law School. She wrote in the Boston Globe over the weekend that "the best possible reform that can come from these complex tragedies is...to get rid of grand juries for everyone."
Criminal defense attorney David Yannettihas served as lead counsel in 12 murder cases.