The Real Reason for Grand Jury Secrecy

    A federal Court in 1954 created another reason for grand jury secrecy overlooked by the 1931 federal court: to prevent subornation of perjury, or tampering with the witnesses who may testify before the grand jury and later appear at the trial of those indicted by it.  United States v. Rose, 215 F. 2d 617, 628-629 (3rd Cir. 1954).

    Predictably, this reason was adopted in 1958 by the Supreme Court, see United States v. Proctor & Gamble Co., 78 S. Ct. 983, 986 note 6 (1958), forgotten about in Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. in 1959, and then resurrected in 1979 by Douglas Oil Co. of California v. Petrol Stops, Etc., 99 S. Ct.  1667, 1673 note 10 (1979).

    A quote from an earlier Supreme Court case bears repeating:

    After many years of public service at the national capital, and after a somewhat close observation of the conduct of public affairs, I am impelled to say that there is abroad in our land a most harmful tendency to bring out the amending of constitutions and legislative enactments by means alone of judicial construction.

    Standard Oil Co. v. United States, 31 S. Ct. 502, 533 (1910) (Justice Harlan concurring in part and dissenting in part)

    Now compare a quote from Douglas Oil:
 

    Although the purpose for grand jury secrecy originally was protection of the criminally accused against an overreaching Crown, see Calkins, Grand Jury Secrecy, with time it came to be viewed as necessary for the proper functioning of the grand jury.
     
    Douglas Oil Co. at 1763, note 9.

    The question is, "viewed" by whom?  Certainly not those of us in the common herd.

    The real reason is much simpler.

    The real reason that grand jury proceedings are now kept secret is to protect the United States Attorneys, assistant United States attorneys, federal judges and magistrates, and federal law - enforcement officers from criminal prosecution.

    If the American public ever wakes up to the normal practice of Federal law-enforcement personnel, including bribing of witnesses ("testify against so-and-so and you'll get a lighter sentence") in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 201, obstruction of justice in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1503 (. . . punishes all endeavors to obstruct due administration of justice, United States v. Griffin, 589 F. 2d 200 (5th Cir. 1979), perjury 18 U.S.C. § 1621, subornation of perjury 18 U.S.C. § 1622, and a plethora of other statutes, and learns how to use grand jury properly to deal with such deprivations federal oppression like Ruby Ridge and Waco is simply finished.
 

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This page was updated on November 29, 2006