Thursday, February 5, 2015

PA Letitia James, Legal Groups Push for Eric Garner Grand Jury Minutes

By MK Metz
New York City Public Advocate Letitia James sent an update Thursday afternoon detailing her efforts to unseal the grand jury proceedings related to the death of Eric Garner last summer.

She was joined at a Richmond County courthouse in Staten Island on Thursday by the Legal Aid Society, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and other parties.

The Public Advocate argues that there is no logical reason to maintain grand jury secrecy as the video tape that depicts the circumstances of Mr. Garner’s death has been made public, and the identities of those involved are not hidden.

Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan has successfully petitioned for limited disclosure, reasoning that grand jury members had expected their identities to be protected.

“This is not about one incident or one death— it is about transparency and a moment within the public consciousness through which we can affect meaningful reform. We know that the grand jury was impaneled for 9 weeks, a considerable amount of time even in cases such as this, yet not a single charge was filed. People around the world have seen the troubling video, and New Yorkers stand alongside the Garner family in seeking answers,” James said, according to the statement.

Judge William Garnett, a longtime Kings County Supreme Court judge assigned to oversee this case, examined the public advocate’s authority to open and examine the grand jury testimony.

Judge Garnett stated that he will submit his decision on the petition next week.

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