"We're used to seeing it done the wrong way. This is the way it should be done."
That's what Attorney Ian Friedman told WKYC in relation to a new development in the case of Tamir Rice. He referred to the in-depth look prosecutors have allowed the grand jury to have of materials close to the heart of the case. In an unusual move, many of the same materials have also been made public, including videos of the deadly shooting incident.
"We're accustomed to the grand jury just kind of rubber stamping things and then we let juries decide in trial courtrooms," Friedman added. "This is what the grand jury's function truly to do-- and that is to investigate the case."
Rice was a 12-year-old boy who was shot and killed by officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback last year as he sat at a Cudell Recreation Center. It was discovered that Rice was carrying a replica weapon, but the case inspired national scrutiny over whether or not the officers responded appropriately. Rice's shooting joined several other high profile 2014 cases, including those of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and others, that placed a national spotlight on the deaths of unarmed African American men at the hands of police.
The Grand Jury Process
In the judicial process, a grand jury is used to determine whether a certain matter should move on to a criminal jury trial. As WKYC reports, these juries consist of 14 people and must produce at least seven affirmative votes to indict the suspects in question. According to one former Cuyahoga County grand jury foreman reporters spoke with, "no bill" (or no charges) verdicts are rare. Of the 1,500 cases the foreman oversaw, only 70 came back with a no indictment.
Traditionally, grand jury deliberations are shrouded in secrecy. Former federal prosecutor Dean Valore told WKYC that this is to prevent a "chilling effect" that could dissuade key eyewitnesses from cooperating if the matter should move to criminal trial. In Rice's case, however, public outcry for action has put uncommon pressure on prosecutors while the grand jury continues to consider evidence.
If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime, then the time to speak with a legal advocate is now. Ian N. Friedman is a renowned Cleveland criminal defense attorney who not only has built his reputation on producing results, but remains a trusted legal resource for the Ohio community. He and his team have an intimate knowledge of the local court system and the diligence and prowess to aggressively pursue a positive outcome on your behalf.
Don't proceed with your case without exploring your options. Contact our team today.