Thursday, February 19, 2015

NY Chief Judge - Judges Should Oversee Grand Juries in Deaths Involving Police -

Head of New York’s Top Court Says Judges Should Oversee Grand Juries in Deaths Involving Police -
By JESSE McKINLEY  2/17/2015
New York’s top judge proposed on Tuesday that judges oversee grand juries deliberating police-related killings of civilians and be granted greater leeway to make the testimony to such juries available to the public.
 In his annual State of the Judiciary address in Albany, Jonathan Lippman, the chief judge of the Court of Appeals, called the grand jury system “a relic of another time” that needed overhaul in light of deadly police encounters, apparently a reference to the case of Eric Garner, an unarmed man who died after a police chokehold last summer.
 In suggesting new legislation, Judge Lippman said while it was “not my role to defend or decry a particular grand jury decision,” the system as a whole must be considered fair. “The grand jury is a vital component of our judicial system,” Judge Lippman said. “Under the law, it is first and foremost a part of the court and an institution for which the judiciary is ultimately responsible.” Judge Lippman is just the latest of many state and local leaders to weigh in after the Garner case, in which a grand jury on Staten Island declined to indict the police officers involved in the altercation. The decision set off protests and added to a national debate over the criminal justice system."

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