Monday, December 8, 2014

Grand juries in Canada

Grand juries, of the same type that gave the controversial decisions in the Ferguson and Staten Island police shootings, used to be used in Canada, the last one in 1984. In Ontario they were 24 person juries that in addition to deciding whether to send someone to trial would do things like checking on how the county jail was being administered. I was in a old courtroom in Ontario (maybe in Woodstock, but I've been to lots!) that had two jury boxes, with 12 places each, and the bailiff said that it was for when different juries in two trials would hear the same evidence, but it must have been for when they had a grand jury hearing. They were phased out in favor of preliminary hearings in front of a judge. Grand juries are supposed to have the problem that they would send almost everybody to trial except police officers, since the jurors did not have any legal experience that would tell them whether a case should go to trial or not, and, except for police, they think anyone before them were likely guilty.

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