Pro Se Chicago's Weblog

November 28, 2014

Why grand juries and trials so easily fixed and manipulated by attorneys


What is a grand jury, how does it work, and what is it’s purpose?

A grand jury is a group of citizens brought together to consider evidence in order to determine only one thing – Is there probable cause to charge a person with a crime? It is supposed to be a safeguard against the state bringing outrageous charges against innocent people for the purpose of harassment, but it has turned into a joke as the jurors don’t understand what they are doing, what they can do, the purpose of the grand jury, and how grand juries are manipulated which is clearly and in great detail explained in the link to an article available on line in this post.

Probable cause is not proof of innocence or guilt. It is just evidence that may be hearsay or untrue, suggesting a person committed a crime. It has to include all the elements of a crime. (For example: Elements of trespass to state supported land are that a person was told to leave and did not and that their actions interrupted a citizen’s use of services in the state owned building.)

Probable cause evidence is presented to the grand jury solely by the prosecutor in a closed secret hearing. Usually the defendant is not called as a witness nor is he or she aware that a grand jury has been called in their  case and only the most minimal amount of evidence, including hearsay allegations without proof, are presented to the grand jury.

The grand jury has the right to call witnesses and question witnesses, but they never do, as they are urged to work quickly, usually hearing a case in a minute or two at the most and their instructions are rarely explained to them in a clear unhurried fashion.

The defense has no rights in a grand jury, except that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the prosecutor may not strike foul blows by giving knowingly false information or exluding such overwhelming exculpatory evidence that there is no way a grand jury would find probable cause. (Like excluding the video in the Garner case).

There is no double jeopardy with a grand jury.  That means the prosecutor may call a new grand jury and try to get an indictment again, as long as it is within the statute of limitations for the crime.

This article explains in great detail why confirmatory bias taints particularly one-sided presentations like the Brown case to the grand jury, as well as trials if they are not extremely fair, and even if they are “fair.” One of the most striking findings in emotional cases is that the jury remembers what is said first no matter what else is said and may blank out all other testimony. There are psychological reasons for this fact.

This is why grand juries must be given evidence only by special prosecutors when the defendants are people who the state’s attorney interacts with daily – like police & judges. This is why police are almost never successfully indicted. Read it carefully. Think of laws that must be changed in order to firmly control this bias. 

Click here to read article: Memo of Law – Confirmatory Bias

SUMMARY OF ARTICLE

Confirmation bias, also called myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, or prioritize information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs. People also tend to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position. Biased search, interpretation and memory have been invoked to explain attitude polarization (when a disagreement becomes more extreme even though the different parties are exposed to the same evidence), belief perseverance (when beliefs persist after the evidence for them is shown to be false), the irrational primacy effect (a greater reliance on information encountered early in a series) and illusory correlation (when people falsely perceive an association between two events or situations)

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January 15, 2013

Free legal assistance for those who are wrongfully convicted or coerced to falsely plea guilty


There is no guarantee you will be able to find a lawyer to help you, but here are the places you can look.  You will have to make appointments by phone and then go to them.  There will be lots of appointments and lots of rejections before  you are likely to find someone to help you, but don’t give up!

Prepare a SHORT document where you write about your case and send it or deliver it to the attorneys or law clinics you made appointments with before you go to your appointments – with a cover letter that is a few sentences saying this is what you are doing.

Write a one to two page story about your case and attach any evidence that proves you are innocent (affidavits or letters from witnesses or whatever else you have).  Give the details of what you were accused of and what you confessed to and pled  guilty to.  Write a paragraph as to why you pled guilty when you didn’t do it.  Write a paragraph about what you plan on doing in life and how the conviction is preventing  you from accomplishing your goals.  Write a paragraph about what the state’s witnesses said that caused you to be convicted and why you think they were motivated to lie.  Give this to each of the places you get an appointment BEFORE you go to the appointment.

Contact law school clinics where they have lawyers who represent indigent clients.  They all don’t do this automatically and they are limited by funding from grants and government. etc.  But call each one and pound the pavement meeting with them after making appointments and showing them the evidence that proves you are innocent. This is NOT an easy task.

http://www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org/?section=LinksPage&LinksPage=Law_Schools

You should also apply for executive clemency from the parole board – which reviews your case and recommends to the Governor if you should be granted a pardon.  Make sure you answer the above questions in your written application. The Gov. can overturn any conviction with a pardon.  It would be better if you could find witnesses who can prove your innocence and get a signed affidavit from them that would be signed by a notary.  Remember that letters are hearsay and not admissible in court.  If you have witnesses that sign affidavits that state they are willing to testify to what they wrote in their affidavits that would be best.

http://www2.illinois.gov/PRB/Pages/prbexclemex.aspx

This page  contains links to free legal services.

http://www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org/?section=SERVRESPage&SERVRESPage=7020

It will be tough finding someone to help you.

Good luck!  Work hard pounding the pavement going to appointments and never give up!

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