California Law Bans Grand Juries in Police Brutality Cases

Cases of police brutality and misconduct have taken center stage in the media as of the past few years. In many of these high profile cases the fate of the police officers involved is decided by a grand jury wherein no defense lawyers or judges are present. Not surprisingly, almost all of the offending officers have been cleared of any wrongdoing by these grand juries.

However, California’s Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Tuesday that prohibits secretive grand juries from determining cases where law enforcement uses “excessive” or “deadly force.”

State Senator Holly Mitchel authored the bill, after the failed indictments of the officers involved in the shootings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown in 2014. Mitchel criticized the grand jury process: “The proceedings are shrouded in secrecy,” and “there are no cross-examinations of witnesses, and there are no objections. How prosecutors explain the law to the jurors and what prosecutors say about the evidence are subject to no oversight.”

Moreover, Gov. Brown also recently signed a related bill which affirmed the public’s right to take audio and video records of the police without the threat of being charged with a crime. According to Senator Mitchell, this bill, in conjunction with the ban on grand juries, “could help restore some faith in the criminal justice system.”

Recommended Articles

sealed document
Sealing Records Under Arizona’s New Law

Criminal records of arrests, even where charges are dismissed, and almost all convictions, even for minor offenses, can and do follow a person for years.

Pima County Preliminary Hearings and Grand Jury Indictments Felony Criminal Procedure

A preliminary hearing is the ostensible first stop in the system of supposed checks and balances embedded in the concept of criminal prosecution and justice

man behind jail cell
You’ve Been Arrested for a Felony in Pima County: What Happens Next?

You or someone you care about was just arrested for a felony in Pima County. This article will give you an overview of what to expect

The Prosecutor Failed to Give Me Evidence: Three Things You Can Do

Three things you can do where the prosecutor has failed to timely disclose important evidence related to your case.

article feature image
Domestic Violence for Professionals – Part III – Asserting Victims’ Rights to Influence Outcome

Today we’ll talk about how victims may also influence the final outcomes of domestic violence criminal proceedings in Arizona, particularly in relation to a putative offer of “diversion.”

Michael Harwin

About Michael Harwin

Michael’s skill and experience have been recognized repeatedly. He holds an A-V 5/5 preeminent rating by Martindale Hubbell. He has been named one of the top lawyers in Arizona by Southwest Superlawyers, and one of the best lawyers in Tucson by Tucson Lifestyle Magazine. He also has been named one of the best lawyers in the United States by , and given the highest rating possible by AVVO, 10/10 Superb. Amazon Books