The role of the grand jury in legal proceedings has been under much scrutiny from the media in the past few months. In the United States the grand jury is given a very important task – deciding whether or not to indict those persons who are arrested for a felony or suspected of committing a crime.
Most recently, the Houston Bar Association held their 29th Law & the Media Seminar titled “The Grand Jury System: A Closer Look”. This seminar included two panels that analyzed the role of the grand jury in the criminal justice system and a keynote address by former Congressman Tom DeLay. Panelists agreed that immediate changes need to be made to increase minority representation on grand juries. Particularly it was noted that there is a lack of trust from the minority community and the grand jury establishment.
In response to the events that have occurred across the United States, several bills have been filed proposing changes to the grand jury process in Texas. State Senator John Whitmire and State Representative Harold V. Dutton, Jr., both of Houston, have filed identical bills that would end the key man system for good in Texas. The proposed bill would require judges to summon 20-125 prospective jurors and then through an examination process impanel the grand jury. Legislators have a little less than six months to pass a bill that would amend the current system, and we strongly encourage them to do so.
Benny Agosto, Jr. is a partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner in Houston, Texas. For over 65 years, Abraham Watkins has successfully represented injured people and families who fall victim to catastrophes. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience and resources necessary to obtain just compensation their clients. For more information, please contact the office of Benny Agosto, Jr. at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, by letter at 800 Commerce Street, Houston, Texas 77002, or by phone at 713-396-3964.