Grand Juries can be used as a weapon by the government against the rights of the individual. There is no due process, no rights, just a group of 23 men and women acting in secrecy; issuing subpoenas and warrants. They are Grand Juries in name only. They bear no resemblance to an actual Grand Jury.
City Attorney Carmen Trutanich is dangerous. He want's his own machine to make his own subpoenas, search and arrest warrants.
In a move that smacks of naked self-promotion, the city attorney has persuaded the California Senate to give him the power to convene a grand jury to help his office investigate misdemeanor crimes. If Senate Bill 1168 is approved by the Assembly and the governor, Trutanich would be the only city attorney in the United States to have grand jury authority!
It's a power currently reserved for district attorneys and attorneys general who handle bigger, more complicated cases. City attorneys, by contrast, act as municipal lawyers - providing advice to city officials and enforcing city laws. They also prosecute misdemeanor crimes.
So why does Trutanich need unprecedented power to convene a grand jury, which can subpoena records and compel witness testimony - all in secret? This unusual proposal has raised eyebrows - and concerns - in Los Angeles City Hall and the legal community. Trutanich's track record in his first year has been spotty, and the need for such uncommon power for a municipal position is suspect and unwise.
PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION TO LET L.A. CITY ATTORNEY TRUTANICH AND THE CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY KNOW THAT TRUTANICH DOESN'T NEED ANYMORE POWER ~ HE HAS YET TO USE THE POWER HE ALREADY HAS!
There are reasons why City Attorneys don't have such powers: which is the balance of power to keep any power-hungry person in check. The checks on power of the mayor and council are essential and they are right to point out that Trutanich is trying to get enough power to go it as a lone wolf. With huge potential for abuse, especially as someone who hasn't kept his word to the Controller Chick or Gruel about allowing open audits of his office, and has shown a tendency to threaten first and look for legal proof later (which he often couldn't find and admitted doesn't exist e.g. AEG's owing $6 million to him over the Jackson memorial).
The proposed grand jury would not have the power to indict, only to investigate crimes. But if Trutanich gets his way, it would give the city attorney a lot of unrestricted power. Unlike other elements in the legal system, a GJ can investigate, interview witnesses, demand testimony and information in an unrestricted way than the conventional legal process. Also grand juries work entirely out of public view, devoid of scrutiny, and are notoriously open to abuse. In addition, a grand jury adds another expensive item to the city budget in a financial climate where the city needs to cut back on unnecessary expenses.
I want L.A. City Attorney Trutanich to have the best tools he needs to do his job and I am happy he has been aggressively going after people like the super-sign scofflaws. But, Trutanich has not shown strength in self moderation with regard to the power his office already possesses and I believe a grand jury system would provide too much power for his office.
I urge the California State Assembly to think carefully about giving Trutanich so much power and to vote "NO" on SB 1168 when it comes before the Assembly!