Things are heating up quickly again in Louisville as new information emerges surrounding the Breonna Taylor grand jury proceedings. A judge has ordered the recording of the grand jury to be released, and one juror is asking a court to permit him to speak about the case, breaking strict, longstanding prohibitions on doing so. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said he supports releasing the materials but was granted a request by Judge Ann Bailey Smith for a delay to redact personal witness information, such as phone numbers.
The anonymous juror appears eager to criticize Cameron, who acted as a special prosecutor on the case and took it before the grand jury, which did not return an indictment against police for killing Taylor. The complaint said that Cameron was “Using the grand jurors as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility for those decisions.”
The filing asks the court to release transcripts of the proceeding and allow all the grand jurors on the panel to be free to discuss all aspects of the case, without fear of prosecution by the executive or contempt of court. Kevin Glogower is the juror’s attorney, who spoke at length during a news conference about this most unusual petition. Generally, grand jury secrecy rules require that no juror disclose evidence they heard during the grand jury.
Glogower said, “My client has an issue with the levels of accountability and disclosure that has happened to this point.”
Sol Wachtler, who was the chief judge of the state of New York, famously said, “District attorneys now have so much influence on grand juries that, by and large, they could get them to indict a ham sandwich.” The reason is that the DAs control the process in its entirety, and defendants have few rights. That has been true since the creation of grand juries, due primarily to the power imbalance between the prosecuting attorneys and the jurors themselves.
The grand jury room does not operate like a typical courtroom. There is no judge present and no opposing counsel. The jury might be empaneled for an entire month, as this one was, and could hear dozens of cases throughout their service. Typically the prosecuting attorney presents evidence they wish the jurors to hear, including witnesses. There’s another radical difference that is seldom seen – grand jurors are often legally empowered to act independently. They may question witnesses directly for instance, and call other witnesses to appear before them.
Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse
Almost none of them know about or seem interested in using these powers, however. Instead, prosecutors are trained on how to control grand jury proceedings to bend to their will. That means too often in too many places, indictments against disfavored defendants, and no charges against favored ones, like the police. There has been zero evidence that racism is somehow involved, either in this case or grand jury proceedings nationally.
There may be many solutions that can help us fix the grand jury system. It will not help to insist, without evidence, that racism is somehow at play.
This motion is not just unusual; it is seemingly without precedent. The Louisville Courier-Journal quotes Erwin Chemerkinsky, a legal scholar and dean of the UC-Berkeley School of Law, saying he had never in his entire career seen a grand juror sue to make a grand jury transcript public. Transcripts have been made public before, but not because of juror intervention. If allowed to speak, early signs point to a campaign of ignorance and illogical thinking, likely to fuel the fire of division and violence throughout the U.S.A.
More Race Hate
Mr. Glogower gave us a clue about his anonymous client’s argument in his motion and at the press conference. The man wants permission to speak about what evidence the grand jury didn’t hear, as well as what was presented. For those following the narrative from the left, that means evidence that other people in the building did not hear the police officers knock and announce their presence before breaking down the door. Of course, absence of evidence is no evidence of absence, but wrapping your head around that concept requires a logical framework too many Americans do not possess, especially when their leaders steer them away from it.
As for Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the Taylor family, he is on board with that narrative and ready with a can of gasoline for the fire. Asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to speculate on the anonymous grand juror’s request, Mr. Crump said he thought the juror was saying:
“We did not get the evidence to allow us to deliberate on whether the police officers who killed Breonna and put bullets in her body should have been charged, instead of just having the bullets that went into the walls of her white neighbors be the only charges brought in this tragedy.”
Crump champions the narrative that Taylor’s race somehow had a bearing in the decision to search her apartment or fire the shots that killed her, or the presentation of charges, all without evidence. AG Cameron is a black man too; however, that is but a speed bump on the narrative road straight to Portland-style riots in Everytown, U.S.A. That, and a king’s ransom for Crump.
The tapes will be released in less than a week, and the anonymous juror’s motion will be heard on Monday, October 5.
Read more from Scott D. Cosenza.