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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rogue Grand Juries?

The Houston Chronicle is running a three part story by Lisa Falkenberg about a Harris County grand jury that browbeat a young mother of three into changing her testimony to indict a boyfriend for killing a police officer. A disturbing glimpse into the shrouded world of the Texas grand jury system
The grand jurors wouldn't accept her testimony that her boyfriend was asleep in her home when the officer was shot, the prosecutor, Dan Rizzo, threatened her with perjury:

Dan Rizzo (the ADA) goes on to accuse Dockery of misleading the grand jury. Then, after being told again and again to think about her children, Dockery changes her story a bit. She says Brown was not at the house when she left for work.

"No, no, no," she finally blurts out.

"One minute, Ericka," a grand juror says a bit later, apparently sensing an opportunity. "He wasn't in the house when you put your kids on the bus either, was (he)?"

"I'm trying to remember," she says.

"Think about your kids, darling," a grand juror says.

"I'm trying to remember," Dockery says.

"That's what we're concerned about here, is your kids," the foreman says.

"He was not at the house," a grand juror urges.

"We're as much concerned about your kids as you are," the foreman says. "So, tell the truth."

"He was not in the house when you put your kids on the bus, was he?" a grand juror says.

"Tell the truth, girl."

"Yes," Dockery says finally. "He was there."

A bit later, Dockery acquiesces on that point, saying that Brown was not in her house earlier that morning, either.

The DA indicted her for aggravated perjury anyway, and she couldn't make bail and spent months away from her children. When she wrote a letter to the judge saying she'd "do anything" to get out of jail, they released her. Her testimony helped put her ex-boyfriend on death row.

1 comment:

  1. Texas is a really scary place.