Behind Closed Doors

"The grand jury is an old institution, and it operates in an antiquated way," says Laurie Robinson, the chief of the American Bar Association's criminal justice section. For hundreds of years the purpose of grand juries has been the same: to determine whether there is enough evidence to bring an accused person to trial. But the confusing three-month period it took to decide whether Bernhard Goetz should be charged with attempted murder has put the grand jury system in the dock once again: one panel refused to indict Goetz for that crime, a second panel decided the other way, and the...

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