March 3, 2009 4:10PM

Grand Juror Got Too Uppity

Peter Atherton was thrown off a grand jury for asking too many questions of the prosecutors. Here’s an excerpt from Legal Times:

Back in 2001, fellow grand jurors quickly became irritated with Atherton, saying he was disruptive and was holding up the process with all of his questions about probable cause and burden of proof, according to court records.

It was Atherton’s first time on a grand jury when he showed up for service that April. He says he became concerned the jury was rushing through cases, indicting individuals without having a full understanding of the crimes.

Filing an indictment against someone is serious stuff. The process should be slow and deliberative. Alas, the old saw is that prosecutors can get grand juries to indict anything–even a ham sandwich. Atherton’s experience lends support to that–skeptics who question authority apparently can’t be tolerated. For a related case, go here. For my primer about the grand jury process, go here.