Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Goolsby "War Story:" My First Grand Jury Case

If I practice law until I am 100 years old, I will never forget my first grand jury case. Here's why! Years ago, I was an Assistant D.A. in south Georgia. My boss, the D.A. had quickly taught me the drill about how to handle the presentation of grand jury cases. It went like this: the prosecutor takes the witness, usually a sheriff's investigator, into the grand jury room, swears the witness in, and then quickly gets the witness to tell the grand jury about the case. If there are no questions, then the prosecutor and investigator step outside the grand jury room while the grand jurors deliberate and vote either to "true bill" or "no bill" the case. I had watched my boss methodically indict scores of cases in this manner. Now, it was my turn to handle my own stack of grand jury cases.
I quickly realized that my first case was going to be just a little bit different. Inexplicably, no investigator was assigned to handle it. Instead, there was only a kind, blind, elderly man who had made a complaint that he was the victim of a residential burglary. I wondered how much proof existed, as I escorted the gentleman inside the grand jury room to the witness stand.
The blind gentleman proceeded to tell the grand jury about how his neighbor's son had entered his home one night and taken his property. Then, the old man added that, if we didn't believe him, we could ask his "friend," who had allegedly seen everything. This piqued my interest. I asked the man to tell us more about his eyewitness. I hoped that we could somehow salvage the case, and help this man, if another eyewitness existed.
Then, the bottom fell out of the case. The old man responded that his eyewitness was two inches tall and that he lived in the old man's mattress! "Go ask him," the old man exclaimed. "He saw everything!"
I never accepted the kind old man's invitation. But now you know why I will never forget my first grand jury case and my first "no bill!"

1 comment:

  1. so funny... I bet it was no funny at that time.By the way you who live the true Law and order think do you watch the serie? I am a great fan ...