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(Bozeman Daily Chronicle)   Movement afoot to convene "common law grand juries" made up of citizens with little or no basis in law or competent governance. What could possibly go right?   ( divider line
    More: Stupid, grand jury, common law grand juries, cost basis, establishments, lynch mobs  
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4147 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Jan 2014 at 1:32 PM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

Voting Results (Smartest)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

2014-01-09 01:37:37 PM  
5 votes:
So, like Sharia law?
2014-01-09 01:36:40 PM  
4 votes:
Isn't this really just a mob?
2014-01-09 01:31:22 PM  
4 votes:
Will the flag at the common law grand juries have fringe or not? It sounds like the sovereign citizen groups have decided they need their own courts. A scary whack-a-doddle group of people. They may have to use armed militia members to round up and judge the people they accuse. Almost sounds like a bygone time in the south.
2014-01-09 01:00:34 PM  
3 votes:

BizarreMan: Well, the big dogs might actually face charges because the common law grand jury might not care how much influence that person has.

A group of assholes calling someone names doesn't constitute "charges."
2014-01-09 01:48:56 PM  
2 votes:
Sounds like same type of people who piss n moan about Sharia Law being enacted at any moment......
2014-01-09 01:38:41 PM  
2 votes:

Tricky Chicken: Isn't this really just a mob?

A lynch mob and a kangaroo court, yes.
2014-01-09 06:08:02 PM  
1 vote:
This is sovereign citizen derp. You know it's sovereign citizen derp because (as someone on Fark has previously pointed out quite elegantly) it's cargo cult legal practice.

Let's take these terms one at a time: "Common law" is a fairly well understood concept by lawyers, although one that cannot be quickly summarized, but I'll go for a not quite accurate description that's good enough for a layman's understanding: it's all the law that we've always had that isn't overruled by the Constitution, by statute, or by a court somewhere (in that order, usually). It's a fairly limited area of the law these days, because most of the ancient precepts have since been codified, reshaped, or interpreted in the two plus centuries of legal framework that exist in this country. It's the bedrock that a lot of our laws rest on, especially when it comes to property and property rights. It's not some other, shadow law that exists independently of what's written down and codified in the Constitution, statutes, or judge's opinions, it's just a common framework that exists throughout our country that ties us together (except those weirdos in Louisiana).

Now, a grand jury is a weird sort of animal. It comes from a time where there weren't all the trappings of the criminal justice system we currently have. Just like how you can sue anybody today for a civil complaint, you used to be able to prosecute anybody for a criminal complaint. You'd work up a complaint and bring it to the grand jury. They'd investigate it and either decline to allow it, or return an indictment, which would allow you (or a hired attorney, or an appointee of the grand jury, or a prosecutor or whoever) to actually begin a criminal prosecution. It's a buffer between the plaintiff and the defendant in a criminal case, to make sure that the alleged crime at least had a chance of actually occurring.

Now, here's the rub: we stopped allowing private citizens to bring prosecutions on behalf of the government. We've got government servants now to do that, who are trained, accountable, and professional, instead of just pissed-off victims. Therefore, the grand jury wasn't needed as much for a buffer, so its use has declined in the United States, and practically disappeared everywhere else in the world. The use differs state by state, but broadly, somebody from the government calls one together to do some looking into something and let the prosecutor know what crimes should be charged. But in a lot of jurisdictions, the prosecutor can figure out what crimes to charge just as easily and without the help of a grand jury.

So, if I'm understanding these loonies correctly, what they're actually trying to do is convene one of the old-style grand juries to hear private complaints and return indictments that will allow prosecution. Essentially, they're setting up a shadow legal system of their own based on their old-timey notions of "justice" and "what they think the Constitution means" and the like. Given that they have absolutely no authority to convene a grand jury (if their state even still allows grand juries), any actions taken by them will almost certainly be void from the beginning. But again: cargo cult legal practice. They think that if they say the magic formula and wish really really hard, they'll actually be able to get to put people behind bars.
2014-01-09 03:48:41 PM  
1 vote:

LemSkroob: mdeesnuts: much rather have jury nullification become a regular thing

Mentioning Jury Nullification is a good way to make sure you are never picked to sit on Jury Duty

That's why I never would mention it. :)

Enigmamf: mdeesnuts: //much rather have jury nullification become a regular thing

Jury Nullification is interesting that it can only acquit, never convict. In that sense, it can never undermine liberty.

However, it can deny justice. It was often used to that effect in the US South, to acquit whites of crimes against blacks, even for murder.

While it can deny justice, I am more concerned with overzealous prosecutors and the 10,000+ pages of laws we currently operate under. Even if all our federal, state, and local lawmakers were the best damn statesmen this side of Founding Fathers (ha!), they're still gonna fark up in 10k pages.

And thousands upon thousands of laws just gives the State that much more ammunition to add you to our 1st place American prisons.

/USA #1!
//in incarceration rates
2014-01-09 03:15:21 PM  
1 vote:

Grauenwolf: The so-called "Common Law Grand Juries" already exist in many states and the federal government. They are used to prevent prosecutors from misusing their power by dragging people into court without a good reason.

BTW, those are grand juries, which are convened by the prosecutors and sanctioned by the courts. Those are statutorily allowed.

What "common law grand juries" are are extralegal entities that derives no legal powers from the law or from a court. The whole idea is that it's a panel of citizens who give themselves the power to investigate and recommend prosecution to prosecutors. This is not a grand jury.
2014-01-09 02:30:16 PM  
1 vote:

Can it really be called a movement when there's only 1 person involved?

According to the precedent established by the "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" (Reprise Records, 1967)
It takes 3 people to be an Organization and at least 50 to be considered a movement.

/hows that for precedent
2014-01-09 01:53:29 PM  
1 vote:
Sounds like a backdoor way to prosecute teh ghey and be bothered to prosecute Sodomy laws....
2014-01-09 01:51:14 PM  
1 vote:

cameroncrazy1984: Common law is not an actual thing.

Are you ignorant or lying? There's not much left, but there is still at least one Federal Common Law Court left in America. It might be waning, but it's not yet gone.
2014-01-09 01:44:57 PM  
1 vote:

RexTalionis: Grand_Moff_Joseph: TFA is like word sslad.  Any of our legal eagles here care to explain what these goons are trying to do with these "grand juries"?

Don't they already exist anyway?  Why call "common law" versions of them?

They want to convene panels of citizens (with no legal authority or basis behind them) and make recommendations to the prosecutors in their respective counties who to prosecute for crimes.

Which is, of course, in no way not subject to abuse (sarcasm).

Grand_Moff_Joseph: Why call "common law" versions of them?

They seem to think that was how it should be because that's how the Founding Fathers had them. Also, because there's no statutory law granting them the authority, they're going with a nebulous claim of "common law."

oh, so uber-libertarian derp crossed with barely masked intent to discriminate against anyone they don't like.


/thanks for the clarification though
2014-01-09 01:44:51 PM  
1 vote:

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: susler: Bad reporting.  The first 2 paragraphs use the words citizens and groups.  But the last paragraph in the TFA included  So far, Heath said she is the only person involved in the Gallatin County effort.

Can it really be called a movement when there's only 1 person involved?

It's not a movement unless it involves a #2.

2014-01-09 01:39:06 PM  
1 vote:
So is this really a "movement" or just a bunch of idiots upset that things are going they way they want them to?

Our system of Justice isn't perfect, but it is a damn sight better than letting who ever has the loudest voice win.
2014-01-09 01:36:33 PM  
1 vote:

TheShavingofOccam123: I predict a bloodbath.

[ image 400x300]

I don't think there's many left-wing journalists like him in the US.
2014-01-09 01:34:57 PM  
1 vote:
I predict a bloodbath.
2014-01-09 01:25:37 PM  
1 vote:

BizarreMan: Well, the big dogs might actually face charges because the common law grand jury might not care how much influence that person has.

These people are usually just the absolutely insane wing of the libertarian movement.  Not to be confused with the marginally insane wing of libertarian movement.
2014-01-09 12:53:50 PM  
1 vote:
Well, the big dogs might actually face charges because the common law grand jury might not care how much influence that person has.
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