For centuries, grand juries have held some of the criminal justice system’s best-kept secrets. But their private process has come under extraordinary public scrutiny after recent decisions not to indict police officers in the deaths of unarmed men, causing a closely-watched court battle and a batch of proposed reforms in New York state.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week proposed a limited lifting of the grand jury veil when police kill unarmed civilians, and on Feb. 5, Acting Supreme Court Justice William Garnett will consider whether to release transcripts of a Staten Island grand jury’s investigation into Eric Garner’s chokehold death.
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