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Legal Options in the Case of the Murdered President


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Legal Options

1) FOIA. FOIA requests are made daily and denials have been challenged in court, some cases lasting over a decade (ie. Morley v. CIA), and this option is continuing on many fronts. (Lesar, Zaid, Holland, et al), but it only leads to more records and not justice for JFK.

2) Congressional Oversight Hearings could call attention to the lack of enforcement of the JFK Act, identify the records that have been intentionally destroyed since the law was passed, require the testimony of those who destroyed the records and investigate the failure of various agencies to abide by the JFK Act. Although this is the easiest road to take, Congress is reluctant to do anything let alone oversee the JFK Act.

3) Congressional Briefing. If Congress won’t hold an official public hearing, a Congressional Briefing could be organized and presented in a Congressional setting that could influence interested Congressman, their aides and the media and drum up support for #1 – a real Congressional Oversight Hearing on the JFK Act.

4) Dallas County Grand Jury. Under Dallas D.A. Craig Watkins, the Innocence Project has reviewed the cases of those convicted for crimes and utilizing DNA and other modern techniques, have freed many wrongfully convicted persons. It may be possible to show that there are sufficient questions concerning the circumstances of the murder of Dallas policeman J.D. Tippitt, and a number of new witnesses have come forward, and that a local grand jury should be convened to review the facts of the case and take new witness testimony to determine if there is enough evidence to bring any living suspect to trail.

5) Federal Grand Jury. Although it was not a federal crime to kill the president in 1963, it was a federal crime to conspire to kill a federal employee, and if conspiracy can be established a special federal grand jury could be convened to review the evidence. It is also possible to convene a special federal grand jury in Washington D.C. to consider the crimes related to the assassination, including perjury, destruction of evidence, destruction of records, obstruction of justice and conspiracy.

6) Federal Task Force. In order to handle complex cases that cross state lines, a Federal Task Force is formed that includes representatives from each of the major federal investigatory agencies as well as local authorities. Such a Task Force could coordinate the investigation of related unsolved homicides such as President Kennedy, John Rosselli, Sam Giancana, etc. The US government however, refuses to properly investigate the civil rights murders of the 60s so it is unlikely they will want to solve any political assassination.

7) Civil RICO – The RICO statutes were established to prosecute complex conspiracies like mob and mafia controlled gambling rings, prostitution, drug trafficking and organized crime murders. While the Department of Justice will not make the assassination of JFK a RICO prosecution, it could be done in civil court, similar to the Christic Institute’s RICO case against the Iran-Contra network. While there are lawyers with RICO experience interested in pursing this tact, the Christic Institute’s failure in court has stymied other attempts to use it.

8) Civil Case of personal injury. Dealey Plaza bystander James Tague was hit in the face by a piece of concrete from a curb hit by a bullet or a bullet fragment shot by the same person who killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally. Tague’s wound drew blood, which would have earned him a purple heart in combat, and it makes him a victim of the same person who killed the President. He could bring a civil suit, but most personal injury civil suits are based on loss of money or work. Tague could possibly argue that he represents those who feel that the loss of the democratic process is just as significant an injury as personal loss of revenue.

9) Inquest. The JFK Truth Project is advocating an inquest and has even set a date for one to take place in Washington DC in September, 2014, the anniversary of the release of the Warren Report. Usually an inquest is held by an official coroner, who determines the cause of death, and if found suspicious, criminal prosecution may follow, and suspects are able to defend themselves there.

10) Other? Have I missed any legal avenue that can be used? If so let’s hear about it.

JFK TRUTH PROJECT: “The ultimate goal of the JFK Truth Project is to establish a public inquest into the Kennedy assassination that will issue definitive conclusions about the case. This inquest -- which will be overseen by leading jurists, scholars and investigative journalists -- will probe some of the darkest chambers of the U.S. national security state. The inquest is scheduled to be held in Washington D.C. in September 2014 – to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the release of the Warren Report, which marked the official cover-up of the assassination.”

Inquest

http://www.thefreedi...ary.com/inquest

in·quest (file:///C:/Users/Owner/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtml1/01/clip_image001.gifnfile:///C:/Users/Owner/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtml1/01/clip_image002.gifkwfile:///C:/Users/Owner/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtml1/01/clip_image003.gifstfile:///C:/Users/Owner/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtml1/01/clip_image004.gif) n.

1. Law

a. A judicial inquiry into a matter usually held before a jury, especially an inquiry into the cause of a death.

b. A jury making such an inquiry.

c. The finding based on such an inquiry.

2. An investigation or inquiry. See Synonyms at inquiry

Inquest

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquest

An inquest is a judicial inquiry in common law jurisdictions, particularly one held to determine the cause of a person's death. Conducted by a judge, jury, or government official, an inquest may or may not require an autopsy carried out by a coroner or medical examiner. Generally, inquests are only conducted upon deaths which are suspicious, due to violence, involving law enforcement officials, or of persons held in state custody. An inquest may be called at the behest of a coroner, judge, prosecutor, or, in some jurisdictions, upon a formal request from the public. A coroner's jury may be convened to assist in this type of proceeding. Inquest can also mean such a jury and the result of such an investigation. In general usage, inquest is also used to mean any investigation or inquiry.

An inquest uses witnesses, but suspects are not permitted to defend themselves.

The verdict can be, for example, natural death, accidental death, misadventure, suicide, or murder. If the verdict is murder or culpable accident, criminal prosecution may follow, and suspects are able to defend themselves there.

Since juries are not used in most European civil law systems, these do not have any (jury) procedure similar to an inquest, but medical evidence and professional witnesses have been used in court in continental Europe for centuries.

Larger inquests can be held into disasters, or in some jurisdictions (not England and Wales) into cases of corruption.

History

The inquest, as a means of settling a matter of fact, developed in Scandinavia and the Carolingian Empire before the end of the tenth century. It was the method of gathering the survey data for the Domesday Book in Englandafter the Norman conquest. In his account of the culture of the Gauls (Commentarii de bello Gallico VI.19.3), Julius Caesar mentions a very early use of the procedure: "if a matter comes into suspicion about a death, they hold an inquiry (a quaestio)…."

United States

In the United States, inquests are procedures, traditionally conducted by coroners, who are generally officials of a county or city. These inquests, while essentially criminal proceedings, are not themselves trials but instead work as an investigative tool. In some states they may be characterized as judicial, quasi-judicial, or non-judicial proceedings. Inquests, and the necessity for holding them, are matters of statutory law in the United States. Statutes may also regulate the requirement for summoning and swearing coroner's jury. Inquests themselves generally are public proceedings, though the accused may not be entitled to attend. Coroners may compel witnesses to attend and give testimony at inquires, and may punish a witness for refusing to testify according to statute. Coroners are generally not bound by the jury's conclusion, and has broad discretion, that in many jurisdictions cannot be appealed. The effect of a coroner's verdict at common law was equivalent to a finding by a grand jury, whereas some statutes provide that a verdict makes the accused liable for arrest. Generally, the county or city is responsible for the fees of conducting an inquest, but some statutes have provided for the recovery of such costs. Whether the evidence presented at an inquest can be used in subsequent civil actions depends on the jurisdiction, though at common law, the inquest verdict was admissible to show cause of death. Coroners' reports and findings, on the other hand, are generally admissible.

A coroner's jury deemed Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and their posse guilty in the death of Frank Stilwell in March 1882.

Grand jury

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Grand_jury

A grand jury is a type of jury that determines whether a criminal indictment will be issued. Currently, only the United States retains grand juries, although some other common law jurisdictions formerly employed them, and most other jurisdictions employ some other type of preliminary hearing. In Ireland, they also functioned as local government authorities.

A grand jury is so named because traditionally it has a greater number of jurors than a trial jury (also known as a petit jury or, in English usage the spelling can be petty jury, from the French for small).

By jurisdiction

In the early decades of the United States grand juries played a major role in public matters. During that period counties followed the traditional practice of requiring all decisions be made by at least twelve of the grand jurors, (e.g., for a twenty-three-person grand jury, twelve people would constitute a bare majority). Any citizen could bring a matter before a grand jury directly, from a public work that needed repair, to the delinquent conduct of a public official, to a complaint of a crime, and grand juries could conduct their own investigations. In that era most criminal prosecutions were conducted by private parties, either a law enforcement officer, a lawyer hired by a crime victim or his family, or even by laymen. A layman could bring a bill of indictment to the grand jury; if the grand jury found there was sufficient evidence for a trial, that the act was a crime under law, and that the court had jurisdiction, it would return the indictment to the complainant. The grand jury would then appoint the complaining party to exercise the authority of an attorney general, that is, one having a general power of attorney to represent the state in the case. The grand jury served to screen out incompetent or malicious prosecutions. The advent of official public prosecutors in the later decades of the 19th century largely displaced private prosecutions.

While all states currently have provisions for grand juries, today approximately half of the states employ them and twenty-two require their use, to varying extents.

http://en.wikipedia....e_United_States

Grand juries in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The United States is the only common law jurisdiction in the world that continues to use the grand jury to screen criminal indictments. Generally speaking, a grand jury may issue an indictment for a crime, also known as a "true bill", only if it finds based upon the evidence that has been presented to it there there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed by a criminal suspect. Unlike a petit jury, which resolves a particular civil or criminal cases, a grand jury (typically having twenty-three or more members) serves as a group for a sustained period of time in all or many of the cases that come up in the jurisdiction, generally under the supervision of a federal U.S. attorney, a county district attorney, or a state attorney-general and hears evidence ex parte (i.e. without suspect or person of interest involvement in the proceedings).

While all states in the U.S. currently have provisions for grand juries, only half of the states actually employ them and twenty-two require their use, to varying extents.The modern trend is to use an adversarial preliminary hearing before a trial court judge, rather than grand jury, in the screening role of determining whether there is evidence establishing probable cause that a defendant committed a serious felony before that defendant is required to go to trial and risk a conviction on those charges.

California, Florida, and some other states, also uses so called civil grand juries, investigating grand juries, or the equivalent, to oversee and investigate the conduct of government institutions, in addition dealing with criminals indictments. For example, in Tennessee, according to the office of the Davidson County District Attorney: "It is also the duty of the Grand Jury to inquire into the condition and management of prisons and other buildings and institutions of the county, inquire into the condition of the country treasury, into any abuse of office by state or local officers, and to report the results of its actions to the court."

History

In the early decades of the United States grand juries played a major role in public matters. During that period counties followed the traditional practice of requiring all decisions be made by at least twelve of the grand jurors, (e.g., for a twenty-three-person grand jury, twelve people would constitute a bare majority). Any citizen could bring a matter before a grand jury directly, from a public work that needed repair, to the delinquent conduct of a public official, to a complaint of a crime, and grand juries could conduct their own investigations. In that era most criminal prosecutions were conducted by private parties, either a law enforcement officer, a lawyer hired by a crime victim or his family, or even by laymen. A layman could bring a bill of indictment to the grand jury; if the grand jury found there was sufficient evidence for a trial, that the act was a crime under law, and that the court had jurisdiction, it would return the indictment to the complainant. The grand jury would then appoint the complaining party to exercise the authority of an attorney general, that is, one having a general power of attorney to represent the state in the case. The grand jury served to screen out incompetent or malicious prosecutions. The advent of official public prosecutors in the later decades of the 19th century largely displaced private prosecutions.

The federal constitutional right to have federal criminal charges screened by a grand jury is one of just a handful of provisions of the federal Bill of Rights that does not also apply to state and local governments.

Federal law

Grand Jury Clause

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury,. . . ."

Misdemeanors are not presented to a grand jury, and are instead charged by prosecutor's "information." In the United States armed forces, an Article 32 hearing is used for a similar purpose.

The grand jury right may be waived, including by plea agreement. A valid waiver must be made in open court and after the defendant has been advised of the nature of the charge and of the defendant's rights.

Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6

Rule 6 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure governs grand juries. It requires grand juries to be composed of 16 to 23 members and that 12 members must concur in an indictment. A grand jury is instructed to return an indictment if the probabl cause standard has been met. The grand jury's decision is either a "true bill" (formerly billa vera, resulting in an "indictment"), or "no true bill".

Grand jury proceedings are secret. No judge is present; the proceedings are led by a prosecutor.

Investigatory role

The grand jury can compel a witness to testify. The target of a grand jury investigation has no right to testify or put on a defense before the grand jury. The U.S. Attorney's Manual anticipates the possibility of allowing investigatory targets to testify.

The U.S. Attorneys Manual states that prosecutors "must recognize that the grand jury is an independent body, whose functions include not only the investigation of crime and the initiation of criminal prosecution but also the protection of the citizenry from unfounded criminal charges" and that targets of investigations have the right to, and can, "request or demand the opportunity to tell the grand jury their side of the story.

Special grand jury

A "special grand jury" is one of two types of grand juries that exist in the U.S. federal system. While a regular grand jury primarily decides whether to bring charges, a special grand jury is called into existence to investigate whether organized crime is occurring in the community in which it sits. This could include, for instance, organized drug activity or organized corruption in government. As provided in 18 U.S.S § 3331(a), the U.S. District Court in every judicial district having more than four million inhabitants must impanel a special grand jury at least once every 18 months.

State law

The grand jury clause of the Fifth Amendment has not been incorporated against the U.S. states. As a matter of state law, the states

Criticism

Jury makeup

The most persistent criticism of grand juries is that jurors are not a representative sampling of the community, and are not qualified for jury service, in that they do not possess a satisfactory ability to ask pertinent questions, or sufficient understanding of local government and the concept of due process. Unlike potential jurors in regular trials, grand jurors are not screened for bias or other improper factors. They are rarely read any instruction on the law, as this is not a requirement; their job is only to judge on what the prosecutor produced. The prosecutor drafts the charges and decides which witnesses to call.

Limited constitutional rights

The prosecutor is not obliged to present evidence in favor of those being investigated.

Individuals subject to grand jury proceedings do not have a Sixth Amendment constitutional right to counsel in the grand jury room, nor do they have a Sixth Amendment right to confront and cross-examine witnesses. Additionally, individuals in grand jury proceedings can be charged with holding the court in contempt (punishable with incarceration for the remaining term of the grand jury) if they refuse to appear before the jury Furthermore, all evidence is presented by a prosecutor in a cloak of secrecy, as the prosecutor, grand jurors, and the grand jury stenographer are prohibited from disclosing what happened before the grand jury unless ordered to do so in a judicial proceeding.

In 1974 the Supreme Court of the United States held in U.S. v. Calandra that "the exclusionary rule in search-and-seizure cases does not apply to grand jury proceedings because the principal objective of the rule is ‘to deter future unlawful police conduct,’ [. . .] and ‘it is unrealistic to assume that application of the rule to grand jury proceedings would significantly further that goal.’" Illegally obtained evidence, therefore, is admissible in grand jury proceedings, and the Fourth Amendment's exclusionary rule does not apply.

Intimidation tactic

After a grand jury was commissioned to investigate whistleblowers organization WikiLeaks, grand juries have been accused of being used as an intimidation and persecution mechanism against whistleblowers who have been accused of stealing classified information.

Rubber stamp for the prosecution

According to the American Bar Association (ABA), the grand jury has come under increasing criticism for being a mere "rubber stamp" for the prosecution without adequate procedural safeguards. Critics argue that the grand jury has largely lost its historic role as an independent bulwark protecting citizens from unfounded accusations by the government. Grand juries provide little protection to accused suspects and are much more useful to prosecutors. Grand juries have such broad subpoena power that they can investigate alleged crimes very thoroughly and often assist the prosecutor in his job. Grand juries sometimes compel witnesses to testify without the presence of their attorneys. Evidence uncovered during the grand jury investigation can be used by the prosecutor in a later trial. Grand jurors also often lack the ability and knowledge to judge sophisticated cases and complicated federal laws. This puts them at the mercy of very well trained and experienced federal prosecutors. Grand jurors often hear only the prosecutor's side of the case and are usually persuaded by them. Grand juries almost always indict people on the prosecutor's recommendation. A chief judge of New York State’s highest court, Sol Wachtler, once said that grand juries were so pliable that a prosecutor could get a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich.” And William J. Campbell, a former federal district judge in Chicago, noted: “[T]oday, the grand jury is the total captive of the prosecutor who, if he is candid, will concede that he can indict anybody, at any time, for almost anything, before any grand jury.”

Reform of federal grand jury system

Due to the criticism against the federal grand jury system there are some reform proposals which include the following proposals:

Better instructions from judges to jurors about the grand jury's powers and its independence from prosecutors

Increased access to grand jury transcripts for suspects who are eventually indicted

Expanded safeguards against abuse of witnesses, including education about their rights and the presence of their attorneys

Notification of targets of investigations that they are targets

Optional rather than mandatory appearances by targets of investigations

An end to the requirement that prosecutors present defense evidence, and replacement with a requirement that grand jurors be informed that the defense was not represented in the hearing.

Besides the above stated reform proposals, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) established The Commission to Reform the Federal Grand Jury, a bi-partisan, blue-ribbon panel that included current and former prosecutors, as well as academics and defense attorneys. The unanimous conclusions and proposals of this diverse group were contained in the publication Federal Grand Jury Reform Report & 'Bill of Rights'. Among the reforms detailed in that report were the right to counsel for grand jury witnesses who are not receiving immunity, an obligation to present evidence which may exonerate the target or subject of the offense, and the right for targets or subjects to testify.

Researchers Erin Crites, Jon Gould and Colleen Shepard of the Center for Justice, Law & Society at George Mason University studied the experiences of prosecutors, defense lawyers, and retired judges in New York and Colorado. Four key reform recommendations emerged from theirEvaluating Grand Jury Reform in Two States: The Case for Reform research study are:

Defense representation in the grand jury room,

production of witness transcripts for the defense,

advance notice for witnesses to appear, and

the presentation of exculpatory evidence to the grand jury.

The Cato Institute, an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C., presented a report, A Grand Facade: How the Grand Jury was Captured by Government which addresses the history of, problems with, and reforms for the grand jury system.

"Runaway" grand jury

Occasionally, grand juries go aggressively beyond the control of the prosecuting attorney. When the grand jury does so the situation is called a "runaway" grand jury. Runaway grand juries sometimes happen in government corruption or organized crime cases if the grand jury comes to believe that the prosecutor himself has been improperly influenced. Such cases were common in the 19th century but have become infrequent since the 1930s.

The 1935 Runaway Grand Jury in New York City was investigating gambling and mobster Dutch Schultz when jury members complained in open court that prosecutors were not pursuing obvious leads and hinted that the district attorney was possibly receiving payoffs. Thomas E. Dewey was appointed as an independent prosecutor.

Edited by William Kelly
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