By Texas law, grand jurors are not supposed to talk to the media about their cases.
That did not stop several of the Gov. Perry grand jurors from breaking the law, specifically, talking to the Houston Chronicle.
The jury, which met weekly for four months, “really tried to keep an open mind and come to a fair decision given all the testimony that we heard,” said Janna Bessin, one of the 12 Travis County residents appointed to serve on the grand jury.
“It’s too bad,” Bessin said, calling the criticism unfair. “But I guess that his side’s job – to really spin it.”
The grand juror here evidently doesn’t understand that they have only seen the prosecutor’s side of the story. The prosecutor didn’t even have Perry testify to the grand jury. That’s not all that unusual, but the fact remains, they only saw the prosecution’s case, not the defense.
One, who asked not to be named, said he expects the public perception to change once the full scope of the prosecutor’s case becomes public.
“I think if and when the facts come out, that’ll change,” the juror said.
All six jury members reached by the Chronicle said they were told it would be illegal for them to discuss the grand jury proceedings. The willingness of some to discuss their thoughts in general terms may indicate frustration with Perry’s defense.
Rho Chalmers, who name matches that of a grand juror but would only confirm her service on a jury that ended last week, said grand juries involve careful consideration of facts.
“For me, it’s not a political decision,” Chalmers said. “That’s what a grand jury is about – take the emotion out of it and look at the facts and make your best decision based on your life experience.”
How many “Rho Chalmers” are there out there?
Now, as to Texas law. Here’s what it says.
Art. 19.34.    OATH OF GRAND JURORS
When the grand jury is completed, the court shall appoint one of the number
foreman; and the following oath shall be administered by the court,
or under its direction, to the jurors: “You solemnly swear that you
will diligently inquire into, and true presentment make, of all
such matters and things as shall be given you in charge; the
State’s counsel, your fellows and your own, you shall keep secret,
unless required to disclose the same in the course of a judicial
proceeding in which the truth or falsity of evidence given in the
grand jury room, in a criminal case, shall be under investigation.
You shall present no person from envy, hatred or malice; neither
shall you leave any person unpresented for love, fear, favor,
affection or hope of reward; but you shall present things truly as
they come to your knowledge, according to the best of your
understanding, so help you God”.
Bold added. For the grand jury misconduct.
The grand jurors in the story know the law, yet they broke it. I’m not sure if that means anything to the forward motion of the case or not. I suspect that it doesn’t, because the grand jury aren’t part of the case going forward. Having indicted their ham sandwich, they’re free to go.
But it does say something about the mindset of Travis County’s jury pool.
Frankly, said mindset sucks. Gov. Perry cannot get a fair trial there.