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DA Wants To Resume Grand Juries for Cop Shootings; Judges Say Not So Fast

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District Attorney Kari Brandenburg has made official her intention to resume the controversial “investigative grand juries” Bernalillo County prosecutors have used for decades to decide whether police officers’ shootings of citizens were lawful.

Brandenburg sent a letter on Monday to Second Judicial District Court judges saying she will begin scheduling the first of 12 pending police shooting cases for grand jury presentations in March.

The judges, however, still aren’t so sure.

District Court Administrator Greg Ireland says there’s still a lingering question: whether Brandenburg has the legal authority to use grand juries for officer-involved shooting cases.

“We still don’t understand what legal authority exists,” Ireland tells ABQJournal.com. “We have asked (for the DA’s) perception of this question, and we still haven’t heard back.”

After Journal stories last year revealed for the first time details of the grand jury presentations — and after meeting with the judges — Brandenburg agreed to suspend the practice last May.

Read previous Journal coverage of the controversy surrounding the grand juries, which in 24 years, never found a police shooting unjustified, here, here and here. And pick up a copy of tomorrow’s paper for a complete story on today’s developments.

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