With all the blatant violations of U.S. law, including warrantless wiretapping (Fourth Amendment), the denial of a speedy trial (Fifth Amendment), habeas corpus (Article I, Section 9) for Guantanimo detainees and others, and the lack of federal prosecution for such crimes, my question is: where are the grand juries?
According to the American Bar Association, as of 2008, six states allowed for citizens to petition to impanel a grand jury. They are Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, North Dakota, Nebraska and Nevada.
In Kansas, which was said to have been using it most actively at the time:
“Convening a grand jury there requires citizen signatures amounting to just over 2 percent of the number of people who voted in the most recent election for state governor.”
In one famous case, that only required 4000 signatures.
If a grand jury were to be impaneled in any of those states, it would be able to indict individuals for obvious crimes against the Constitution by anyone operating in those states. Indictment for warrantless wiretapping should be the most likely of the crimes I mentioned because the infrastructure for wiretapping is set up across the country, and the issue lacks the politically charged nature of the violations of the Constitution involving the Guantanimo detainees that political opportunists would seize upon to thwart such attempts.
For those upset with President Obama accepting the excuse used — and ultimately rejected in the Nuremberg trials — of just following orders, these state grand jury laws provide a way for individual citizens to hold their government officials accountable when their elected representatives won’t.
For more on the power of juries, see my article Jury nullification.