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ACDL-NJ Press Release on Virtual Grand Juries - July 13, 2020

posted Jul 13, 2020, 6:23 AM by ACDL-NJ Administrator

The Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey roundly condemns the use of virtual Grand Juries, and rejects the Administrative Office of the Courts’ attempt to tell the public that virtual Grand Juries are good for our criminal justice system. 

As the ACDL-NJ held a town hall meeting on July 9, 2020, to address strategies for combating the unconstitutional virtual Grand Jury pilot program imposed upon the state by court order with nearly 75 lawyers, political leaders, community activists, and clergy, the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) simultaneously issued a press release touting the self-proclaimed “success” of its virtual Grand Jury pilot program. The AOC reported that since June 18 virtual Grand Juries had returned 33 indictments, and seemed to celebrate the Wi-Fi indictments as trophies, totally ignoring the constitutionally unsound process utilized to achieve them.

Absent from the AOC’s press release is whether any defendant has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing by a virtual Grand Jury. The press release from the AOC, reveling in nearly three dozen indictments without mention of a single individual that was no-billed by a virtual Grand Jury, demonstrates that the AOC views virtual Grand Juries as a mechanism for obtaining indictments and not for carrying out justice.

Each of the 33 indictments represents a human being that was treated as just a cog in the process, an anonymous statistic denied the basic protections that are constitutionally guaranteed to defendants in the State of New Jersey as they enter the criminal justice system cloaked with the presumption of innocence. The AOC’s release did nothing to rebut the array of issues that make indictment by Wi-Fi unconstitutional and simply wrong.
Read the complete ACDL-NJ press release condemning the AOC for virtual Grand Juries, PR effort & announcing Pandemic Task Force here