The bills to be addressed on Tuesday are:
- Senate Bill 1009 - Discovery/DA Work Product - Sponsored by Sen. Tony Rand
- Senate Bill 1130 - Broaden Open Discovery - Sponsored by Sen. Daniel Clodfelter
- Senate Bill 1131 - Grand Jury Reform/Prosecutorial Misconduct - Sponsored by Sen. Daniel Clodfelter
Senate Bill 1130 offers one modification to the open discovery statute. The bill proposes to add the following statement to the statute:
The term "prosecutorial agency" includes any public or private entity that obtains information on behalf of a law enforcement agency or prosecutor in connection with the prosecution of the defendant.The clarification would include labs such as Dr. Brian Meehan’s DNA Security, Inc. as a "prosecutorial agency" subject to open discovery. As such, the proposal broadens the open discovery law. We welcome Bill as an effort to broaden the State's progressive open discovery law.
Senate Bill 1131 proposes to have all Grand Jury proceedings recorded and transcribed while also allowing Grand Jurors to report prosecutorial misconduct to federal law enforcement authorities after consulting with and gaining the permission of the presiding judge.
All proceedings of the grand jury shall be recorded and transcribed. Records and transcriptions of grand jury proceedings are not public records under Chapter 132 of the General Statutes.While we strongly support the proposals to record Grand Jury proceedings – had this been the case for the Durham Hoax, there would be a record of the misrepresentations presented by DPD officers Himan and Gottlieb on behalf of Defendant Nifong – and to allow the Grand Jury to report prosecutorial misconduct to federal authorities, we are reluctant to endorse the requirement that permission from a local judge be granted first. Given Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson’s defiance of State Law on behalf of District Attorney Nifong in the matter of the petition to remove him for office, it is difficult to trust that other Judges would not follow Hudson’s lead and favor a familiar ally above the law and over the lawful request of concerned citizens. Even if the bill were modified to require the presiding Judge to act on the request for permission to report prosecutorial misconduct, Hudson’s refusal to follow the statute requiring him to act on the 7A-66 petition offers no assurance that a resident Judge would act against a favored prosecutor.
[Grand Jurors] May confer with, and report to, the presiding or convening judge concerning possible prosecutorial misconduct or any other matter that could adversely affect the independence, fairness, and impartiality of the grand jury.
Notwithstanding G.S. 15A‑623 or any other provision of law, the grand jury may, after consultation with the presiding or convening judge and only with that judge's permission, report to federal law enforcement authorities on prosecutorial misconduct and any other matter that could adversely affect the independence, fairness, and impartiality of the grand jury.
Contact information for the nineteen members of the Senate Judiciary I Committee follows below. Please take a few moments to express your opinions on these Bills directly to the committee members by clicking the email links provided.
North Carolina Senate Judiciary I Committee Members:
Click here to copy one email to all 19 committee members.