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Could a non-citizen end up indicting Americans?

ALBANY, Ga. — As officials in one Georgia county continue to clean up the legal mess caused when a non-U.S. citizen somehow ended up on a grand jury and issued indictments on more than 100 cases, local authorities say they believe enough safe guards are in place to thwart most from being able to sit on grand or trial juries.

For most of the April term of the Bartow County grand jury, a resident and legal alien heard testimony and issued indictments against U.S. Citizens. It wasn't until a tip to the sheriff's office alerted officials that the juror was kicked off and investigation launched. Inevitably, Bartow District Attorney Rosemary Greene was forced to re-indict 130 cases, according to a recent report by Atlanta T.V. station 11Alive.

Locally, Dougherty County Clerk of Court Evonne Mull concedes that the way the state now mandates jury pools to be developed is flawed, but says that it would be difficult to keep people from lying.

"People lie; and they'll lie right in the face of a judge," Mull said. "We haven't had any issues with non-citizens but we've had a few times when felons will make it into the pool and be weeded out during voir dire (jury questioning)."

So how did a non-resident get into the jury pool in the first place?

Mull says that the old days of using registered voters as the sole source of supplying jury pools has gone away, leading instead to a system that uses both voter registration roles and information from state databases of driver information.

"We send out the questionnaires to registered voters and anyone over 18 that drives that hasn't already been tossed off the state's list," Mull said.

Those questionnaires require residents of Dougherty County to answer questions relating to a variety of things such as age, nationality, residency and felon status.

Once returned, a six-person jury panel then attempts to filter out those who are either felons, non-citizens or others who have a legally-permissable reason to be out of jury duty such as their age — over 70 — or infirmity.

The questionnaires that pass the scrutiny of the jury commission are then uploaded into a statewide computer database where they're compared and reconciled with existing information in the database, Mull said.

That database then generates the local jury pool for both trials and grand jury terms. At least three different points throughout the entire process — from the point where the questionnaires are returned to the point a person is assigned to a case — require the prospective juror to legally attest to their citizenship.

"The current system is better than we thought it would be," Mull said. "It's not better than the old one, but I think there are enough safeguards to keep the folks out who shouldn't be there."

Comments

jglass 11 months ago

If someone is living in the U.S. and is not a legal citizen, if they get a driver's license, that license should EXPIRE the same time that the "green" card expires. If they are illegals, they should not be able to get a driver's license in the U.S. and should not have the privilideges that legal citizens have. And, they should not get any of the handouts either. If they want to live over here, they should be made to become citizens in a very short time of them coming over here or they should be sent back home.

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Trustbuster 11 months ago

I agree. A better system should be utilized to verify. I suggest circuit wide grand juries. This was placed on the ballot as a survey two decades ago.

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RedEric 11 months ago

Oh poop! This regime sends instructions to the Mexican government telling them how their citizens who sneak into the US can apply for food stamps and other freebies. I have seen estimates where mid 40% of illegal immigrants are on various welfare programs. And yesterday the Senate passed a bill to make them, and their families still in Mexico, citizens! This is one hand waving the three scandals while the other hand is trying to create 30 million democratic votes. Despicable isn't even good enough.

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chinaberry25 10 months, 4 weeks ago

I have read it is 100% of all illegal Hispanic households. At least someone is getting benefits. Cut it off and you can find them.

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RedEric 11 months ago

The absolute worst thing about this report is this illegal alien voted!! I would want to know where he voted and who was in charge of verifying his citizenship.

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btinf16 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Get your facts straight on both comments. The guy was a resident and legal alien, which means he was here legally. The guy could have been a Canadian or Brit for all you know. The Senate bill does not make all illegal immigrants and their families citizens. If you read the bill at all you will see that. Please stop generalizing every immigrant as a Mexican as well. This country and your family as well came to this great place as immigrants. You better get used to an influx of highly educated, motivated, and hard working immigrants once the bill is signed into law. Our country needs these folks to continue to be on top. The era of the white male dominance is over.

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chinaberry25 10 months, 4 weeks ago

The bill has not passed and you are here sporting it. The bill will never ever pass, so do not expect it to be signed into law. You get your facts straight!

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RedEric 10 months, 4 weeks ago

I SAID THE SENATE PASSED IT!

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RedEric 10 months, 4 weeks ago

"The era of the white male dominance is over". That is only in the movies.

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RedEric 10 months, 4 weeks ago

So you think it is OK for a noncitizen to vote?

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jglass 10 months, 4 weeks ago

I do not care the color of anyone's skin. If they come here they need to become legal citizens and get a job. I am so tired of my taxes and increased taxes funding people not working and having babies and not working and eating better than me and not working!!!!

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trudy2 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Most folks coming to this country are either better educated than the average American or are willing to do jobs that the average American refuses to do.

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RedEric 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Cheap labor stifles innovation. After the civil war Yankee farmhands went back to their job to find they had been replaced by machines. Everything now being done via stoop labor can be done by machines. There is to much inertia with the currant system.

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Somebody 10 months, 4 weeks ago

Some of the folks coming to this country come in to get knowledge and pass that info to their native country like the Chinese have been accused of doing, some of the folks come to this country to leech off the system and then set off bombs like those Boston Bombers did. Bottom line is they need to monitor the people coming into the country more closely.

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