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IFA Open Letter to Scott County Grand Jurors

[Note: Hard copies of this letter below, along with the enclosures listed below, were mailed via USPS certified mail to the names listed below on Thursday August 25, 2011.  Contact information for these grand jurors can be found here.]
August 25, 2011
TO: Scott County Iowa Grand Jurors:
Rosemary Hasenmiller (Forewoman)
Mark Burgmeier
Tochcia Butler
Ellen Frey
Andrew Nanspreybroeck
Cheryl Shuppy
Angela Ubel
Alternates, Scott County, Iowa Grand Jurors:
Daniel Armstrong
Eric Baker
Yvonne Hamilton
Kristine Royster-Teitle
Bradley Simmons
Kevin Tague
Nanette Trudell

FROM: Scott County Iowans For Accountability (IFA)
PO Box 514, Bluegrass, Iowa 52726
 

RE: Grand Jury Toolkit
Dear Scott County Iowa Grand Jurors:
Thank you for serving and protecting the people of Scott County. Please note the attached copy of Scott County Attorney Mike Walton's June 14th letter notifying you that you may be contacted.

Iowans For Accountability (IFA) was formed in August 2010 as a Non Party Political Organization, under Iowa Code Title II, Chapter 44.1. IFA has been scrutinizing government activity in Scott County such as the consolidated dispatching center (aka SECC911), Scott County Board meetings and staff communications, and Scott County Courthouse procedures and proceedings. IFA seeks to increase government accountability and transparency. To that end, when the citizens of Scott County have access to a fully informed and active Grand Jury, the people can be protected from government overreach and injustice.

The body of both Mr. Walton's letter and this letter (without your names) will be published in the next issue of IFA’s newsletter The Concerned Citizen. Your names and contact information (attached) will be available at the IFA website for concerned citizens who wish to contact you.
We have compiled this open letter to augment your grand jury training and to generate more awareness of the full scope and importance of the Grand Jury's duties and responsibilities.

Our founding documents - our U.S. and State Constitutions - define the duties and role the Grand Jury:

The Constitution of the United States (17 Sep 1787), Amendment V:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous
crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury…”1

The Constitution of the State of Iowa (1857), Bill of Rights, Article I, Section 11,When indictment necessary - grand jury
in which the maximum permissible imprisonment...exceed[s] thirty days…no person shall be held to answer for any higher criminal offense, unless on presentment or indictment by a grand jury…” 2

Iowa Court Rules3 reveal the Grand Jury has broad authority to investigate wrongdoings, regardless of the source of information.

This includes:
  (A) Ensuring no Scott County citizens are imprisoned on criminal charges without Grand Jury indictments
  (B) Investigating the condition and management of Scott County's prisons, institutions and places of detentions
  (C) Investigating unlawful misconduct in office of Scott County public officers and employees
The Constitutions (U.S. and Iowa) are the supreme documents and supersede and overrule any subsequent laws/statutes/ordinances/rules that are repugnant to them.

This is evidenced by the Supreme Court's ruling, Marbury v Madison: “The Constitution of these United States is the supreme law of the land. Any law that is repugnant to the Constitution is null and void of law.” 4

Further, the Constitution of the State of Iowa, Article 12, Section 1 states: “This Constitution shall be the supreme law of the state, and any law inconsistent therewith shall be void.”

Meanwhile, Iowa Court Rules, Chapter 2 - Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 2.5, paragraph 2.5(1) unconstitutionally undermines the Grand Jury’s authority by stating: “All indictable offenses may be prosecuted by a trial information. An information charging a person with an indictable offense may be filed…, whether or not the grand jury is in session.”5

Without the Grand Jury's participation or knowledge, trial information is being used to generate indictments for criminal offenses with maximum permissible imprisonment that exceed thirty days.

Since this practice contradicts both the U.S. Constitution and the Iowa Constitution, prosecution based soley on a trial information is invalid and thus “null and void of law.” This practice is also in conflict with Iowa’s own Court Rules: “The grand jury shall inquire into all indictable offenses.”

By relying on “a trial information,” the grand jury's duties are being undermined and as a result, the rights of the people of Scott County are being violated by denying the due process protected by the Constitution of the State of Iowa, Article 1, Section 9.6

Fortunately, the Grand Jury was established to protect against such violations.

As a Scott County Grand Jury member, please remember these important facts and observations:

1. You are the 4th branch of government. The Grand Jury is an independent body, whose functions include not only the investigation of crime, and the initiation of criminal prosecution, but also the protection of the citizenry from unfounded criminal charges.7

2. The Grand Jury acts as a check on the prosecutorial power of the state.8

3. The District [County] attorney has no power over the Grand Jury but rather serves as a facilitator for the Grand Jury.9

4. The Scott County Grand Jury is required to ensure that “no person...held to answer for any higher criminal offense, unless on presentment or indictment by a grand jury.” (The Constitution of the State of Iowa, Article I, Sec 11)

5. “Judicial Expediency” or “Judicial Economy” is NOT an excuse to replace the duties and authorities of the Scott County grand jury.

6. There are two documents endorsed by the grand jury - A True Bill of Indictment, where the indictment originates with the District [County] attorney; and A True Bill of Presentment which originates with the grand jury, for which the District [County] attorney must then frame an indictment.

A Presentment is an accusation of an offense, made by a grand jury on its own, upon its own observation and knowledge, or upon evidence presented to it by injured parties, concerned citizens or public officers, and without any Bill of Indictment laid before it by the government.10 11

The grand jury collects and evaluates evidence to establish whether A True Bill or No Bill of Presentment is issued. No Bill means that there is not enough evidence to warrant an Indictment and because the Grand Jury proceedings remain secret, the honor of the accused is protected.12

While the Iowa Court Rules contain the county attorney's General Indictment Form (Rule 2.37 - Form 5), it contains no form for a Grand Jury Presentment. Meanwhile, the Grand Jury oath, found in the same Rules, twice mentions “presentments” as the Grand Jury's responsibility.13 Regardless, the Grand Jury should be creating its own Presentments, when necessary.
7. The grand jury has the right, duty and authority to initiate its own investigations at any time. It does not require approval from the county attorney/prosecutor or any judge. It can invite witnesses to testify and issue its own findings as well as a Presentment. Federal grand jurors have independent power to investigate and demand on their own.14

8. It is your duty to examine all prosecutions against the limited powers of the Iowa and U.S. constitutions.

9. It is your duty and right to judge the law as well as the facts of the case.15 16 17

10. The grand jury may issue indictments to any person, not just public prosecutors, authorizing them to prosecute.
11. The grand jury must determine if the court has jurisdiction of the case, not just if there is sufficient evidence to indict.

12. A grand jury's proceedings are to remain secret (Iowa Court Rule 2.3(4)d. Secrecy of proceedings), unless otherwise required by rules of Discovery (Iowa Court Rule 2.14) and no one other than the grand jury may be present when the grand jury is voting upon the finding of an indictment.

13. No government agency has the right to interfere with body ownership, self-defense, or any other natural rights.18

14. In matters where the State is the plaintiff and claims itself as the injured party, the presiding judge, as an employee of the state, has a clear conflict of interest. The Grand Jury is one of the the people's most important remedies for holding government accountable.

15. You are the people’s representatives - our guardians - in protecting us and yourselves from corrupt government servants. We hope this letter, and support material, inspires you to re-read your Oath and make yourselves accessible to concerned citizens. (See footnote #13 on previous page.)

We will be contacting you to ensure you received this information. We will assist you and answer any questions - contact us at the numbers listed below. We’ll be happy to meet with you to discuss this information and explore next steps in becoming a more active Grand Jury.

Sincerely,
Iowans For Accountability (IFA)
2010 Central Committee Members:
Michael D. Elliott, Chairman 563-570-5395
Michael C. Angelos, Secretary 563-324-4716
Jesse J. Anderson 309-235-5813
Diane L. Holst 563-285-9758
M. Todd McGreevy 563-650-0120
John P. Riley 563-514-3388

Footnotes: 

1
The Constitution of the United States (17 Sep 1787), Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; (Copy enclosed)

2 The Constitution of the State of Iowa (1857), Bill of Rights, Article I, Section 11, When indictment necessary - grand jury
All offenses less than felony and in which the maximum permissible imprisonment does not exceed thirty days, shall be tried summarily before an officer authorized by law, on information under oath, without indictment, or the intervention of a grand jury, saving to the defendant the right of appeal; and no person shall be held to answer for any higher criminal offense, unless on presentment or indictment by a grand jury, except on cases arising in the army, navy or in the militia, when in actual service, in time of war or public danger. The grand jury may consist of any number of members, not less than five, nor more than fifteen, as the General Assembly may by law provide, or the General Assembly may provide for holding persons to answer for any criminal offense without intervention of a grand jury. (Copy enclosed)

3 Iowa Court Rules, Chapter 2, Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 2.3 The grand jury, paragraph 2.3(4)j states: Duty of grand jury. The grand jury shall inquire into all indictable offenses brought before it which may be tried within the county, and present them to the court by indictment. The grand jury shall meet at times specified by the order of a district judge. In addition to those times, the grand jury shall meet at the request of the county attorney or upon the request of a majority [4 of 7] of the grand jurors.
It is made the special duty of the grand jury to inquire into:
(1) The case of every person imprisoned in the detention facilities of the county on a criminal charge and not indicted.
(2) The condition and management of the public prisons, county institutions and places of detention within the county.
(3) The unlawful misconduct in office in the county of public officers and employees.

5 Iowa Court Rules, Chapter 2, Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 2.5 Information, paragraph 2.5(1) states: Prosecution on information. All indictable offenses may be prosecuted by a trial information. An information charging a person with an indictable offense may be filed with the clerk of the district court at any time, whether or not the grand jury is in session. The county attorney shall have the authority to file such trial information except as herein provided or unless that authority is specifically granted to other prosecuting attorneys by statute.
The attorney general, unless otherwise authorized by law, shall have the authority to file such a trial information upon the request of the county attorney and the determination of the attorney general that a criminal prosecution is warranted.

6 Constitution of the State of Iowa, Article 1, Section 9, Right of trial by jury - due process of law. The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate; but the general assembly may authorize trial by a jury of a less number than twelve men in inferior courts; but no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. (Copy enclosed)

7 U.S. Attorney’s Manual (USAM), Section 9-11.010

9 U.S. v. Williams, 504 U.S. 36 at 47 (1992), “the grand jury is not part of the three branches of government set forth in the Constitution… [it] is an institution separate from the courts, over whose functioning the courts do not preside.” http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/90-1972.ZS.html

10 Black’s Law Dictionary: “Presentment - Criminal Procedure. A formal written accusation returned by a grand jury on its own initiative, without a prosecutor’s previous indictment request.
A grand jury has only two functions, either to indict or to return a ‘no bill.’ The Constitution speaks also of a ‘presentment,’ but this is a term with a distinct historical meaning not now well understood. Historically presentment was the process by which a grand jury initiated an independent investigation and asked that a charge be drawn to cover the facts should they constitute a crime.”

11BURNS, John. Criminal Procedure. The United States Constitution requires that all “capital, or otherwise infamous” crimes be commenced through ”a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury.” …while grand jury indictments are generally reserved for politically sensitive cases, cases that are factually questionable and cases in which the county attorney is subject to a potential conflict of interest in pursuing the case. As a result, cases initiated by indictment in Iowa are often among the most controversial from both factual and legal standpoints.

12 American Juror, Vol. 23, Issue 2, Corruption Charge at the Fulton County District Attorney and Grand Jury (Copy enclosed)

13 Iowa Court Rules, Chapter 2, Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 2.3 The grand jury, paragraph 2.3(4)c Oaths administered to grand jury, clerk, bailiff, and court attendant: "Do each of you, as the grand jury, solemnly swear or affirm that you will diligently inquire and true presentment make of all public offenses against the people of this state, triable on indictment within this county, of which you have or can obtain legal evidence; you shall present no person through malice, hatred, or ill will, nor leave any unpresented through fear, favor, or affection, or for any reward or the promise or hope thereof, but in all your presentments that you shall present the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, according to the best of your skill and understanding?"

14 Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S 43 (1906), “…an information of the district attorney, which is of no legal value in prosecutions for felony;…“If the grand jury, of their own knowledge, or the knowledge of any of them, or from the examination of witnesses, know of any offense committed in the county, for which no indictment is preferred to them, it is their duty either to inform the officer who prosecutes for the state, of the nature of the offense, and desire that an indictment for it be laid before them, or, if they do not, or, if no such indictment be given them, it is their duty to give such information of it to the court; stating, without any particular form, the facts and circumstances which constitute the offense. This is called a presentment.” http://supreme.justia.com/us/201/43/case.html

15 A Primer for Prospective Jurors, Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) (Copy enclosed)

16 U.S. v. Dougherty, 473 F.2d 1113 (1972), “… the jury has a well-recognized prerogative to disregard the instructions of the court even as to matters of law, and that they accordingly have the legal right that the jury be informed of its power.” http://openjurist.org/473/f2d/1113

17 Citizens Rule Book, Handbook for Jurors Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) (Copy enclosed)

18 Who Owns Your Body? Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) (Copy enclosed)
 

Enclosures:
  • Constitution for the United States
  • Constitution of the State of Iowa
  • General Indictment Form (Rule 2.37- Form 5)
  • Citizens Rulebook
  • Who Owns Your Body? (FIJA)
  • On the Grand Jury (FIJA)
  • The Concerned Citizen, May-June 2011
  • American Juror, Vol. 16, Issue 3, What Happened to the Grand (Old) Jury?
  • American Juror, Vol. 21, Issue 3/4, First-Hand Grand Jury Account
  • American Juror, Vol. 23, Issue 1, Grand Jury Remedies: Questions & Answers
  • American Juror, Vol. 23, Issue 2, Guerrilla Jurors: Sticking it to Leviathan
  • American Juror, Vol. 23, Issue 2, Corruption Charge at the Fulton County District Attorney and Grand Jury
  • A Primer for Prospective Jurors (FIJA)
  • Letter from Michael J. Walton, Scott County Attorney to Scott County Grand Jurors; Subject: SuperLiberty/Fully Informed Jury Assoc., June 14, 2011
  • Iowa Court Rules Sections 2.3, 2.4 and 2.5

Suggested Additional Readings:

BASTIAT, Frederick, The Law, 1850. http://mises.org/books/thelaw.pdf

SPOONER, Lysander, Trial by Jury, 1852. http://www.lysanderspooner.org/tbj.pdf

EDWARDS, George J. The Grand Jury, 1906. http://constitution.org/gje/gj_00.htm

ROLAND, Jon. Let’s Revive Private Criminal Prosecutions, 1996. http://constitution.org/uslaw/privpros.htm
U.S. Attorney’s Manual (USAM), Section 9-11.000, Grand Jury, 1997. http://www.justice.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/title9/11mcrm.htm

The Handbook for Federal Grand Jurors www.mdd.uscourts.gov/jury/docs/federalgrand.pdf

Creighton Law Review, Vol. 33, No.4 1999-2000, 821, If It’s Not A Runaway, It’s Not a Real Grand Jury, Roger Root http://www.constitution.org/lrev/roots/runaway.htm

MAYBURY, Richard J. Whatever Happened to Justice? Placerville, CA: Bluestocking Press, 2004. http://www.bluestockingpress.com/whatever-happened-to-justice.htm

The Articles of Freedom, Article 7 - Juries and the Seventh Amendment, 2010. http://articlesoffreedom.us/TOC/Article7Juries.aspx


Iowa Court Rules, Chapter 2, Rules of Criminal Procedure, 2010.
http://www.legis.state.ia.us/DOCS/ACO/CR/LINC/02-02-2011.chapter.2.pdf

Full PDF of entire Toolkit, with hyperlinks herein, available at the Scott County Iowans For Accountability website: www.ScottCountyIFA.com


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