NACDL News: NACDL Announces New Initiatives in the Aftermath Of Recent Police Killings

For many years, NACDL has been concerned about the integrity of the grand jury process and the overwhelming influence of prosecutors over that process and its outcomes. Two recent cases in which unarmed black men (Michael Brown and Eric Garner) were killed by law enforcement officers brought NACDL’s concerns back to the forefront. A report issued by NACDL in 2011 identified a core problem of the modern American grand jury system: Grand jurors’ independent exercise of their powers “is frequently superseded by prosecutorial influence, leading some to suggest that while the modern grand jury technically remains an independent body … as a practical matter, it relies heavily on the prosecutor to secure evidence and give the jurors legal advice.” Building upon NACDL’s leading role in addressing racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system, on Dec. 10, 2014, NACDL President Theodore Simon announced plans for a publicly broadcast webinar on grand jury practice in America.