Andy’s Newspaper column archive
Title: GRAND JURY, what’s that all about? ©
There have been rumblings about calling for a Grand Jury in Nye County for some time. Just what is it, how is it created and why is it necessary? The subject of a Grand Jury is difficult to cover given the limitations of this column and I am not an attorney, so you are getting this from a layman’s perspective who has read the NRS. Do not take everything as Gospel since no one should be allowed a reference to religion in today’s corrupt portions of society.
There are small juries also called petit jury’s or just the jury. They typically are twelve citizens who are impaneled to hear evidence and arguments to determine guilt or innocence. Then there are GRAND JURIES, named that for a reason.
Grand Juries in Nevada are composed of seventeen citizens, supposedly picked at random from a potential list of fifty qualified persons. Nevada requires that the County Clerk, under the supervision of a district court judge, to send out inquires to fifty people selected at random to ask who would consider serving. This process continues until 36 persons willing to serve is established.
Each district court judge, in rotation, selects a juror from the 36 until seventeen are reached. The jurors are compensated Forty dollars a day plus possible per diem expenses. What is important about Grand Juries is that they have tremendous powers to investigate issues well beyond what might take place in an ordinary court room.
The grand jury may inquire into all public offenses committed within the territorial jurisdiction of the district court
for which it is impaneled. A District court judge shall supervise thye proceedings. Grand Juries have to respond in a positive fashion, no negativity 172.267. They are not allowed to investigate the courts. Grand Juries can be called for a specific or general purpose. When impaneled for a general purpose, they shall or may inquire into:
(a) The case of every person imprisoned in the jail of the county, on a criminal charge, against whom an indictment has not been found or an information or complaint filed.
(b) The condition and management of any public prison located within the county. The misconduct in office of public officers of every description within the county which may constitute a violation of a provision
of NRS.197, which covers a lot of ground. A grand jury that is not impaneled for a specific limited purpose may inquire into any and all matters affecting the morals, health and general welfare of the inhabitants of the county, or of any administrative division thereof, or of any township, incorporated city, irrigation district or town therein.
At one time there was a requirement to form a Grand Jury every four years. In 1949 the Legislature removed the requirement that a Grand Jury be formed in each county with a population under 100,000. It is however permitted.
Currently there are four ways to create a Grand Jury, petition by citizens, affidavit by citizens to a District Court judge on an issue, a request to the State Attorney General and an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Application to the Supreme Court is applicable for an order directing selection and impaneling of grand jury by the district court judge if that judge failed to call for the jury. 6.6.140
These are covered in NRS.6.110 thru 6.190. Summoning of grand jury by”
1. Filing of affidavit or petition by taxpayer to the Clerk of the District Court. It is not mandatory that the judge form a Grand Jury. 6.130
2. Filing of a petition by a five member citizen committee of registered voters to the County Clerk of the District Court. 6.132 It is then mandatory that the judge form the jury.
3. A request by the Governor, or of the Legislature by concurrent resolution. This too is mandatory. 6.135
When the State convenes a Grand Jury its purpose is limited to investigate state affairs and conduct of state officers and employees. The expenses are charged against the state general fund.
4. Application to the appellate court (if we had one) for an order directing selection and impaneling of grand jury. 6.140.
An application for a Grand Jury was submitted by John Bosta of Amargosa using the item 1 approach. It was supported by the required number of affidavits and submitted to Judge Kimberly Wanker. Upon receipt of the request she had five days to respond. A correspondence was submitted by the District Attorney, Brian Kunzi, that he saw no need for the jury. The judge never gave Mr. Bosta an opportunity to respond to the D A Kunzi’s letter and she just denied the request based on his letter. It would have been appropriate to have allowed Mr. Bosta to offer a response to that letter.
There is great value in the Grand Jury investigations because it can provide absolution as well as not. Honesty and integrity in government should be the objective for every level of government. Grand Juries take that decision making away from politicians and bureaucrats by the very nature of the jury and the citizens participating.
It has been written that Brian Kunzi, the District Attorney, has indicated his ability to call for a Grand Jury. I could not find such powers in the statutes so by virtue of this writing I encourage someone to provide it for me.
If you are interested in looking at the NRS’s, go to my web site www.seepahrumpwithandy.com . In the yellow box click on STATE OF NEVADA. Next click, LAW LIBRARY. On the left side midway it says search, click on it. In the query box enter the number of the NRS. From there it is obvious what to do.
One last thing When you were in elementary or high school, can you recall any class devoted to law. I cannot and yet I was supposed to follow the law after graduation. How has that worked out for you? Yes, we need a Grand Jury now, and it cannot be too soon. I have personally written the Governor and the Attorney General with a request.
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Andrew Alberti jr