|Limits placed on citizen-petitioned grand juries
May 7, 2008: The Kansas Supreme Court ruled on May 6 that a citizen-petitioned grand jury can proceed to investigate George Tiller's Women's Health Care Services clinic, but must do so with oversight from a trial judge.
7,000 signatures had been collected to impanel a grand jury in Wichita by Troy Newman of Operation Rescue West. The grand jury impanelled through this process issued a subpoena to the Tiller abortion clinic seeking 2,000 medical records. This action of the grand jury was contested by lawyers for the abortion clinic, leading to May's ruling from the Kansas high court.
In January 2008, the Tiller grand jury issued a subpoena for records of every woman at least 22 weeks pregnant who had received or sought an abortion at the clinic for the past five years.
The opinion of the court said, "The court should satisfy itself that the grand jury has not engaged in an arbitrary fishing expedition" and imposed oversight by a judge of the inquisitive grand jury in order to ensure future compliance with the high court's view of the matter.