“A REPUBLIC, IF YOU CAN KEEP IT”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jul. 8, 2013) — The following letter is available to all readers and can be reproduced and sent to members of Congress, state legislators, district attorneys, and U.S. attorneys.
Historically, the grand jury conducted investigations of government officials suspected of wrongdoing as well as private individuals. Operating without a prosecutor or judge acting as overseer, grand juries went into the community to investigate any number of incidents to determine whether or not a presentment should be issued. Often, grand juries acted as a shield between an overzealous government prosecutor and a presumably innocent individual.
According to the University of Dayton, OH, “Before the American Revolution, colonial grand juries essentially ran local government, supervising everything from road-building and bridge maintenance to the operation of local jails. Over the years, they lost much of their public affairs function, as the operation of local government was taken over by administrative agencies, an institution that did not exist in colonial times.”
In 1946, Congress changed the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, declaring “presentments” issued by citizens’ grand juries “obsolete.” The grand jury then transitioned from acting as a buffer between the government and the citizenry as well as an investigatory body to a tool of the government used against citizens.
The states of Washington, Connecticut, Nevada and Michigan no longer use grand juries, with Connecticut having legislated away the “constitutional grand jury,” substituting it with an “investigatory grand jury” comprising one or more judges rather than members of the public. A “grand jury” can now investigate only four types of crime.
Many states maintain the ability to abolish the grand jury by legislation.
Dear [State Legislator, Congressman, etc.]
The Fifth Amendment to the Bill of Rights guarantees anyone accused of a crime a grand jury review of the evidence against him. Grand juries were once the means by which public corruption was identified and consisted of eligible, upstanding citizens from the community.
In 1946, Congress amended the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, relegating the grand jury into a functionary of the government by declaring its presentments “obsolete.” Prosecutors now decide which cases will be reviewed by a grand jury and prevent citizen access to the grand jury.
According to constitutional attorney Roger Roots, “Today, critics are nearly unanimous in describing the alleged oversight function of modern grand juries as essentially a tragic sham. The Framers of the Bill of Rights would scarcely recognize a grand jury upon seeing the modern version conduct business in a federal courthouse. In modern federal grand jury proceedings, the government attorney is clearly in charge and government agents may outnumber the witnesses by six-to-one.”
We know that over the last several years, average citizens have been prevented over and over again from accessing sitting grand juries with evidence of crimes committed. That situation which must change if we are to “keep” the republic, as Benjamin Franklin had cautioned us following the Constitutional Convention of 1787.
Since the Bill of Rights cannot be changed other than through constitutional amendment, the Fifth Amendment remains intact, and it is the responsibility of We the People to enforce not only the Fifth, but also all ten amendments as written by the Framers.
It can be argued that certain amendments beyond the Tenth are unconstitutional, misinterpreted, or were never ratified properly, but that is a discussion for another day.
In order to fully investigate public officials suspected of wrongdoing, We the People are reclaiming the grand jury as the Fifth Amendment investigatory body it was meant to be in order to hold public officials accountable. As the legislative branch of government, Congress is unequipped to carry out the functions which rightfully belong to the grand jury. If grand juries were functioning today as intended, Congress would not be holding hearings over allegations of corruption within the IRS, the Justice Department, the Benghazi attack, or any other matter of government malfeasance.
Congress’s job is to legislate according to the will of its constituents, not to hold hearings. That is the job of the people.
Today, the citizens’ ability to bring evidence of a crime to a sitting county, state or federal grand jury has been diminished or completely extinguished by U.S. attorneys and local prosecutors. For example, there is irrefutable evidence that in Monroe County, TN, grand juries are completely commandeered by local judges and district attorneys general, with grand jury foremen serving for years and even decades at the pleasure of the judge. One foreman served for at least 28 years consecutive years without so much as an appointing order or evidence of his qualifications, and jurors serve consecutive terms in violation of Tennessee law.
Sadly, the foreman of the McMinn County, TN grand jury told a petitioner that the grand jury could not examine evidence presented of election fraud last fall, a clear indication of how local grand juries have been influenced by government appointees. When the government investigated allegations of undue influence on the same grand jury beginning last year, it reportedly found no evidence to support the claim, but the government does not have the ability to investigate itself.
As a result of tainted grand juries, hundreds and perhaps thousands of people have been jailed and imprisoned when a legitimate grand jury might have reached a conclusion other than that which the government pressured it to reach.
Eric Holder cannot investigate his own department in regard to the seizing of journalists’ phone records and emails, the Fast & Furious gun-running operation, or any other instance of misconduct. Only the direct involvement of the people can hold Eric Holder or anyone else to account for official misconduct.
Our criminal justice system continues to spin out of control. The means to regain the balance is for the people to assemble fully functional grand juries not controlled by a prosecutor. When the people relinquished their control over the grand jury, they gave the government permission to grow, and, as is human nature, become more corrupt with the passage of time.
We the People are now rescinding that “permission.”
Recently, Atty. Larry Klayman and others have convened citizens’ grand juries, which were common prior to the Rules change in 1946. We the People must fully support and participate in grand juries in order to purge government of its proclivity toward criminality.
The matter of Obama’s forged birth certificate and Selective Service registration card would already be settled if a grand jury had been allowed to examine the evidence. In fact, had the evidence pointing to Obama’s lack of constitutional eligibility been presented to a grand jury before the 2008 election, it is likely that he would have been prevented from becoming a presidential candidate on those grounds. Similar questions about John McCain’s eligibility could also have been reviewed by a grand jury if the government gatekeepers had not prevented it.
The qualifications of future candidates for office can be reviewed by a grand jury since neither the FBI nor Congress will do it.
A grand jury should review whether or not the NSA has violated the Fourth Amendment, which was intended to protect Americans against unlawful searches and seizures.
Further, the benefit of Fifth Amendment grand juries needs to be extended to members of the military. Why should enlisted men and women ostensibly fight for the constitutional protections of U.S. citizens when those protections are denied them by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)?
Government is out of control. As your constituent, I ask that you review the history of the Fifth Amendment and the evolution of the grand jury, which clearly belongs to the people. I ask that you publicly call for prosecutors to step aside and allow citizens with evidence of criminality access to sitting county, state and federal grand juries and to form their own grand juries in order to re-establish the rule of law in the United States of America.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.