One man has served as grand jury foreman in Nashville for more than half of the last decade. How are forepersons of the body that is supposed to be impartial picked in Tennessee and in neighboring states?
The Aug. 6 Tennessean had an editorial on grand juries. In discussing the process the author noted that the Davidson County Grand Jury returned about 99 percent indictments for cases presented to it.
Here is the exact quotation.
“Ironically, they sided with law enforcement in 99 percent of the 477 cases they reviewed — perhaps attributable to the fact that they relied only on the arguments of police and prosecutors.”
That is precisely the case because in the grand jury system in Tennessee, the police and prosecutors bring all of the cases to the jury, a presentment for the panel to determine whether there is enough evidence to warrant going to trial. No other evidence or view point is offered.
The jury has one job. It is not to determine guilt or innocence. It is to evaluate the evidence presented by the authorities and decide if there is enough to warrant a trial. I served on a grand jury once and nearly every time we met, either the prosecutor or the foreman reminded us that we were not to decide if we thought the subject had done it. We were to decide if a crime had occurred and enough evidence pointed toward the person in question to justify a trial.
So the comment that the jurors relied only on the arguments of police and prosecutors is pointless. No one else presents to a grand jury. The defense gets its day in court.
Jim League, Smyrna 37167
NAFTA cost Tennessee thousands of jobs by conservative estimates, and it cost the U.S. millions of jobs. This month, Donald Trump will begin renegotiating the deal.
Unfortunately, his team of corporate insiders has released only vague proposals and is following the mold of the Trans-Pacific Partnership “free trade” deal that the people opposed and had effectively killed even before the election. Trump said he opposed the TPP, but now he is ready to re-make NAFTA to be more like the TPP.
The worst part of these bad deals is that they give corporations the ability to sue nations in a corporate-controlled tribunal that is outside our laws, called ISDS. Any deal that keeps the ISDS is unacceptable and will continue to cost jobs. NAFTA should not be negotiated in secret. We should know details of the proposals. It should protect workers, consumers, the environment and our national sovereignty, not just corporate profits.
Anna Miller Grabowski, Ten Mile 37880
President Trump is throwing a temper tantrum, just like a 3 year-old, by threatening to withhold subsidy payments to health insurance companies. He wants to hurt Americans by sabotaging the individual markets, and increase instability and run prices up further on all of us, just because he didn’t get his way. Just like a toddler.
Congress should pass legislation that prohibits him from withholding subsidy payments. Stand up to him for all of us.
Cathy Mabe Pyron, Signal Mountain 37377
Last summer when my wife and I toured the east wing of the White House, we were in awe of the beauty and history of every room. Both of us said what an honor and privilege it was to be standing in the White House.
Of course, my dad worked in steel mills and my wife’s dad was a coal miner and we didn’t receive millions of dollars from a billionaire father.
Jack Smedley, Gallatin 37066
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