LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - An anonymous grand juror from the Breonna Taylor case is still fighting to go public about what happened during proceedings led by the Attorney General’s Office.
Arguments about that were flung in a virtual courtroom Thursday between an attorney representing the juror and the AG’s office, which filed a motion to prevent the juror from releasing information.
Jefferson County Judge Annie O’Connell said she will decide on the matter as soon as possible.
A central part of the debate was whether there is a greater public interest in preserving the secrecy of a grand jury or providing transparency a grand jury process some are already questioning.
Typically, grand jury proceedings are kept secret, but the anonymous juror is asking the court for permission to speak out about some parts of the case that could be considered significant interest to the public.
Specifically, a motion details the juror wants to disclose actions outside of what was already released in recordings by Attorney General Daniel Cameron, including what did not happen during proceedings.
For example, the motion lists the desire to speak about charges that were not presented, and defenses or explanations of law that were not provided to grand jurors.
“If you don’t adequately explain the law, you don’t answer their questions, if you don’t go down the path they’re leading you to, then you’re not upholding your duty,” said Kevin Glogower, an attorney representing the anonymous juror.
Victor Maddox, who was presenting arguments on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office, said that a grand juror’s disagreement with how Cameron characterized the proceedings wasn’t cause to do away with the tradition of secrecy.
“The question of the public interest is simply not one that a single anonymous juror and her council ought to be allowed to determine,” Maddox said.
Maddox claimed that, if the process loses its secrecy, it will irreversibly alter Kentucky’s legal system, making it harder for prosecutors and the public to have confidence in grand jury proceedings.
“It’s more likely that the result would be throwing gasoline on a fire because the entire process would then be reopened and every grand juror would then be at risk,” Maddox said.
He claimed that could cause harm to the criminal justice system as a whole, adding it could make witnesses reluctant to come forward and put people in the grand jury process at risk of threats or bribery.
“The functioning of the criminal justice system, which depends on the grand jury itself, cannot survive, your honor, if the grand jury may throw open its doors after it is discharged,” Maddox said.
Those representing the juror said that secrecy was lost when recordings were released and Cameron made public remarks or appeared in television interviews.
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“(That) completely undid secrecy, as I keep stating,” Glogower said. “I realize I may be getting a little redundant, but it’s a really important point. The public interest then shifted to transparency.”
In an initial filing, Glogower wrote Cameron is “using the grand jurors as a shield to deflect accountability and responsibility."
He said claims Cameron made during a press conference minutes after the grand jury announced its decision that the jury had agreed with him are an issue for his client.
“Clearly there is something left that the attorney general is concerned about,” Glogower said. “It would appear by the messages put out in the public that it’s those very statements that it’s going back to in the press conference, and the subsequent walking back of those statements.”
Maddox question whether O’Connell had jurisdiction to hear the case as criminal charges produced by the grand jury had been transferred to a different court.
O’Connell was initially tasked with overseeing the grand jury and read its decision in her courtroom last month.
Taylor family attorney Ben Crump, and co-counsels Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker, released the following statement Thursday:
“With each day that passes and with every action of Daniel Cameron, it becomes more and more evident that the Attorney General has something to hide. This motion is a slap in the face to Breonna’s family, and yet another attempt to conceal the corruption of his office. If he has nothing to hide, and he did everything right as he claims, then he should have no problem letting the grand jurors speak to the public. They deserve to have that voice, and Breonna’s family deserves answers.”
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