LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - In spite of months of continued demands from thousands of voices to prosecute the police in the Breonna Taylor case, when it comes to grand jury indictments, one voice is the most influential of all.
“The prosecution runs the show in the grand jury,” Blanche Cook, a University of Kentucky law professor and former federal prosecutor, said. “And as a result of all the power that the prosecution has in the grand jury, they are successful in getting charges upwards of 90%.”
That power includes deciding what evidence to present and which witnesses to invite.
Defendants have no right to speak to a grand jury.
Prosecutors can also make recommendations to jurors on what charges are appropriate. More often than not, the grand jury agrees.
“They typically make a recommendation, and that’s what really carries the most power in these kinds of cases is that their recommendation is often favored by a grand jury,” WAVE 3 News legal analyst Leland Hulbert said. “So, they could either present all the facts and say, ‘Based on our reading of the law as prosecutors, here’s what we think should happen.’”
Always behind closed doors, Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s handling of the Breonna Taylor grand jury is even more secretive than usual.
In the end, all jurors have to decide is if there is probable cause that a crime has occurred.