In the wake of a string of controversies involving no-indictments of police officers from grand juries, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) has introduced H.R. 5830, the “Grand Jury Reform Act.”
The relatively simple bill, which Johnson pitched in a Huffington Post editorial, would prevent a secret grand jury process specifically for those cases involving “a law enforcement officer who uses deadly force against a person.”
Using federal funding as an enforcement mechanism, the bill would also require governors to appoint a special prosecutor in such cases to present evidence of probable cause on behalf of the state at a preliminary hearing.
These hearings and the evidence presented would now be open to the public, preventing the kind of secret proceedings that caused so much controversy in the the judicial proceedings of Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri.
“The protesters demand an end to what is perceived as unequal justice, and that those who are responsible for the use of excessive force be brought to justice,” said Johnson. “They do not trust a secret grand jury system that is so clearly broken. My bill will help restore that trust. No longer will communities have to rely on the secret and biased grand jury process.”
Johnson plans to introduce the legislation formally early next year.