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Note: The comments and questions on this page came from people who visited this website. Please feel free to send your comments and questions to Professor Brenner (brenner@udayton.edu). She will respond privately, and may ask permission to post your message on this page. No one's e-mail will be used without first obtaining their permission, and names and e-mail addresses are removed before a comment is posted. Starting in 2002, the responses posted to the site indicate which of us replied: The initials SWB mean Professor Brenner wrote the response; the initials LES mean Professor Shaw wrote the response. We are also putting the year down, to indicate when the response was posted. If no initials appear, Professor Brenner wrote the response.

Frustrated Foreperson

During a Grand Jury subcommittee investigation into the workings of county government, with witnesses to be county commissioners and the city administrator, 1) does the county attorney have the right to be with them during the interview process, and 2) does the DA have the right to override the planned format of interviewing witnesses and insist on a group interview rather than the (planned) individual interview?

 

Response: I can understand your frustration, but I'm afraid I cannot answer your question. One reason I cannot answer is that you're clearly referring to a state grand jury investigation, and so much depends on what state you're in. I'd have to know what state, and we'd then have to check state statutes and case law, etc., etc. (Also, what is a grand jury subcommittee? I have not encountered that before.)

What I suggest you do is to contact the judge who supervises the grand jury. (In most, if not all, jurisdictions, there is a judge, often the judge who impaneled the grand jury, who supervises that grand jury, ruling on motions challenging subpoenas, etc.) As the foreperson, you represent the grand jury. You could, therefore, raise these issues with the judge, and ask him/her to let you know where you stand.

Asking ensures that you get the most accurate advice (since the judge will of course know the law on these issues in your jurisdiction and may even have dealt with such a situation before). It also means that, if the judge agrees with you, he/she is in a position to instruct the prosecutor to refrain from what he/she has been doing.

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