A Case for Public Defenders Leading Grand Juries: Balancing the Scales of Justice for True Justice
The grand jury process is a key component of the American criminal justice system, with its primary function being to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to indict a person for a felony. This process, however, has been criticized for its lack of balance and fairness, as it is largely one-sided, with only prosecutors present to present evidence and no defense attorneys allowed to counter or challenge that evidence. This article argues that a shift towards a system where public defenders lead grand juries, and prosecutors are not permitted, would better serve the principles of justice and fairness in our society. Importantly, public defenders are not interested in seeing criminals go free but are committed to ensuring that true justice is served.
The Role of Public Defenders in Pursuing Justice
Public defenders play a crucial role in the criminal justice system by advocating for the rights of the accused. While they are tasked with representing their clients, their primary objective is to ensure that justice is served. Contrary to the misconception that public defenders want criminals to go free, these legal professionals are dedicated to making sure that the rights of the accused are protected, and the legal process is fair and balanced. Their commitment to justice makes them ideal candidates to lead grand jury proceedings and create a more equitable system.
Benefits of a Public Defender-led Grand Jury System
- Fairness: By having public defenders lead grand juries, the process would become more balanced and fair, as both sides of the case would have an equal opportunity to present evidence. This would help to correct the existing imbalance that favors the prosecution, while also ensuring that public defenders work towards a just outcome.
- Trust in the Criminal Justice System: By ensuring a more balanced and fair grand jury process, public trust in the criminal justice system would likely improve. The involvement of public defenders, who are committed to justice rather than simply securing convictions, would demonstrate the system’s dedication to ensuring that justice prevails.
- Reduced Wrongful Indictments: A public defender-led grand jury process would be more likely to scrutinize evidence carefully and critically, reducing the chances of wrongful indictments. Public defenders, with their commitment to justice, would work diligently to ensure that only those with sufficient evidence against them are indicted, protecting innocent individuals from the hardships and stigma associated with criminal charges.
- Prosecutors often chose not to indict police officers, even when a crime may have been committed because the work closely with the police. That conflict of interest has lead to many bad police officers sullying the name of good officers by repeatedly breaking the law and abusing the public.
The current grand jury process has long been criticized for its perceived imbalance and lack of fairness. A shift towards a system where public defenders lead grand juries, and prosecutors are not allowed, would help to address these concerns and create a more balanced and just process. By recognizing the commitment of public defenders to justice rather than simply securing convictions, this change would not only benefit the accused but would also strengthen public trust in the criminal justice system, ensuring a more just society for all.
This article is based on an original idea by Obie Kittredge