The grand jury – a misnomer if ever there were one – has been described as “the ceremonial hirelings of the establishment,” ready to indict a ham sandwich if asked to do so by a prosecutor. This description referred of course to a criminal grand jury, but the civil version is no better.
We had proof of that recently when the Santa Clara County Grand Jury released a “report” of its views about certain City of Santa Clara officials who were allegedly too sympathetic to the concerns of the 49ers, one of the biggest taxpayers in town. The so-called report consisted mainly of unfounded and defamatory allegations about public officers elected by the citizens of Santa Clara. These accusations were said to be the product of an “investigation” conducted by certain grand jury members, who could not even be bothered to interview the accused for their side of the story, a most un-American way of proceeding.
We will never know for sure what was behind this autumnal emission of the jury, since like most grand juries, this one treasures secrecy above all else. Fortunately, we have an election just around the corner (November 8) where the good voters of Santa Clara will have a chance to send a message of their own to our local grand jury about its disgraceful way of doing business. One hopes the citizenry rises to the occasion and puts the current hirelings in their place.