Although at one point in time, it could be said the grand jury system was a rubber stamp of the DA [Judge Sol Wachtler, the former Chief Judge of the State, was quoted as saying, “A grand jury would indict a ham sandwich,” (See People v. Carter, 77 N.Y. 2d 95, 107 & n.1 (1990) (Titone, J., dissenting); In re Grand Jury Subpoena, 144 Misc. 2D 1012, 1016 n.1 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. County 1989)], that has not been true for many years, at least not in Kings County. Changes to the composition of the pool from which grand jurors are chosen are largely responsible for this phenomenon… Continue reading
A runaway grand jury is one in which the grand jurors have taken control over the investigation and are refusing to listen to the prosecutor. In the 19th century, when America was still strong and independent, their were many run-away grand juries. By the 20th century prosecutors have taken over and indicated many a ham sandwiches. Today, it is considered an exception to the rule when grand jurors ignore the prosecutor(s) and they start and follow their own path of discover and decisions. However, runaways were still found in the 20th century. One of the best known were the New York grand juries in the 1930’s, in which they barred prosecutors from coming into the grand jury room and took off on its own investigation of corruption in New York city government. More proof that the grand jury clauses in the New York State constitution are still some of the strongest.