Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Grand Jury Ain't So "Grand"

For the "start of the story", visit the Jon Massey Caset.

The use of a Grand Jury hearkens back to the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. For more reference, read up on the background of a Grand Jury here: Wikipedia Grand Jury.

However, despite its origins as an objective tribunal for realistically evaluating whether a matter merits prosecution, today's version is completely different.

A modern Grand Jury is completely under the control of the District Attorney. 

As a refresher, it is the District Attorney's job to convict someone. Why? Because it looks good, and will help them get re-elected. So they can put away more people. And look good. And get re-elected. Infinite cycle of job security. This is even more true for high profile offenses.

There is a saying among attorneys: "Any attorney can indict a ham sandwich...or exonerate Charles Manson covered in blood..." (and the accompanying issue is that if an attorney can't manage either, they are incompetent and should find a new career).

The district attorney controls what evidence is presented, and what witnesses are called. It shouldn't be that way for the Grand Jury to fully evaluate a matter, but the DA isn't interested in the Grand Jury objectively evaluating a case.

You ask again, why? Very simple - because once the DA gets an indictment from a Grand Jury, they blast it all over the media along with the picture of the "criminal". The media presentation often implies that the indicted person has been convicted. Jury pool is predisposed, the DA eventually gets their conviction, and looks good, and gets re-elected...ad infinitum.

Now there are some simple hard and fast laws that govern the behavior of Grand Jurors (the people who are selected). The jurors are not to talk about the case, especially before the indictment has been served. And they are not to disclose the identity of other Grand Jurors.

What happened at the first Grand Jury? It was a horror show for Jon Massey. 

Although Jon was a diabetic and repeatedly requested water while he was testifying, the DA denied his request. Ultimately, when Jon kept trying to persuade the Grand Jury to listen to audio recording that would exonerate him, and to call several witnesses - including Mike Heisler, the DA took a recess. During the recess, under the pretext of getting a drink of water for Jon, he took him in a back room and screamed and yelled at him - pure and simple witness intimidation.

Additionally, the DA characterized one of the witnesses that Jon requested as a "convicted felon" and a "convicted drug user". The witness had no felony record and no drug arrests, so the DA lied in order to persuade the Grand Jury not to call him. 

The DA also called one of the witnesses that Jon requested a "snitch". That particular witness actually was a CRI (Confidential Registered Informant) who worked with the local Metro-Jeff Drug Task Force. As such he was registered in a database with a handler in law enforcement. Just for the record, "outing a snitch" is a criminal offense at the federal level, as it is considered endangering their life.

We have the Grand Jury transcript as well as the affidavits of Jon Massey and his attorney at the time, Eric Swartz, which document all of the above events.

As to the Grand Jury themselves? Well, apparently there were at least two members who knew our family personally. How do I know? Because the daughter of one of them approached my oldest daughter in public shortly after Christmas and started telling her all about what had transpired at the Grand Jury. 

The Grand Jury heard the case on December 11, 2012 and Jon was not indicted until on or around January 2, 2013. For any of the Grand Jurors to disclose material prior to his indictment would normally constitute a criminal offense.

According to the juror's daughter, the District Attorney took it upon himself to unseal and disclose legal records regarding my oldest daughter to the Grand Jury. Normally unsealing a record would take a judge's order, but none was ever produced that would document the legality of what the DA did. The records in question were under the control of DSS, and nothing that the DA would have access to. This indicates that either the DSS attorney or the CPS Caseworker was complicit in this circumvention of the law.

Now the disclosed records had nothing to do with Ruby or with Jon Massey, but they were presented in such a way as to make the jury believe that they did.

So, not only did the DA behave inappropriately in suppressing witnesses and evidence from the Grand Jury, but one of the Grand Jurors illegally broke the secrecy of the proceeding and described it in detail to her daughter. The juror's daughter also informed my oldest daughter of the name of one of the other Grand Jurors, a woman who had known all of my children and myself for quite a few years.

And not a thing was ever done to either the DA or the Grand Juror.

Indictment obtained under false pretenses and the sanctity of the process irreparably tainted. This is our justice system in Jefferson County, NY.

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