State Grand Jury Task Force to Begin Work

Demonstrators protest the decision not to indict police officers in the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice.
Demonstrators protest the decision not to indict police officers in the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice. (Brian Bull / ideastream)
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by M.L. Schultze

A state task force studying how grand juries operate begins its work in Columbus next week. The commission was formed by Ohio Supreme Court Justice Maureen O’Connor after decisions not to indict police officers in two killings in Ohio.

The mission of the 18-member task force is to study how grand juries work in Ohio and in other states—including the instructions they get when they are considering whether there is enough evidence for someone to face a trial on criminal charges.

But Chief Justice O’Connor underscored that grand juries have been part of Ohio law since its first constitutional convention in 1802. And she declared that is not going to change.

“I formed the task force to recommend ways to improve the functioning of the grand juries and to see what additional steps can be taken to improve the public’s confidence in our justice system,” O’Connor said. “The task force will not be asked to determine whether the grand jury system should be eliminated. It is embedded in our Constitution.”

The task force’s first report is to be filed with O’Connor by June 15.

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