Montana Citizen Grand Juries Amendment (2010)

From Ballotpedia
Revision as of 14:31, 4 September 2011 by JWilliams (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search
Not on Ballot
Proposed allot measures that were not on a ballot
This measure did not or
will not appear on a ballot
The Montana Citizen Grand Juries Amendment, also known as CI-106, did not appear on the November 2, 2010 ballot as an initiated constitutional amendment in the state of Montana. The effort to place the measure on the ballot was being led by Stevensville, Montana resident Duane A Sipe. The Secretary of State's Office received the proposed ballot measure on November 9, 2009. Sipe was proposing an amendment that would allow citizens to convene special investigative juries in their counties, not just judges.

The proposed amendment would have allowed .5 percent of registered voters in a county to sign a petition that would subsequently summon an 11 person jury. According to Sipe's proposed amendment, any indictment brought by 8 of those jurors would have to have been prosectuted by the county's attorney. Sipe stated: "With the political environment in the country going on right now, we have to open up some ideas. It is my opinion, and it is a lot of people’s opinion, we’re headed away from what the founders intended. We’re going into way too much government.” The language was approved by the Montana Secretary of State, so the initiative effort had submit 48,673 signatures by the June 18, 2010 petition drive deadline.[1][2][3]

Text of measure

Ballot title

The ballot title of the measure read:[4]

CI-106 amends the Montana Constitution to allow one-half of one percent of a county’s voters to summon by petition a citizen grand jury to investigate and charge crimes. A citizen grand jury can investigate any crime and can open certain proceedings to the public. A county attorney must prosecute any crime charged by a citizen grand jury or may be indicted for failing to do so. A citizen grand jury also may hire a private lawyer, paid by the county, to prosecute any crime it charges.

[ ] FOR amending the Montana Constitution to allow citizens to summon by petition a grand jury to investigate any crime and prosecute any crime it charges.

[ ] AGAINST amending the Montana Constitution to allow citizens to summon by petition a grand jury to investigate any crime and prosecute any crime it charges.

Constitutional changes

Article II, Section 20 of the Montana Constitution would have been amended to read:[5]

Section 20. Initiation of proceedings.

(1) Criminal offenses within the jurisdiction of any court inferior to the district court shall be prosecuted by complaint. All criminal actions in district court, except those on appeal, shall be prosecuted either by information, after examination and commitment by a magistrate or after leave granted by the court, or by indictment without such examination, commitment or leave.
(2) A grand jury shall consist of eleven persons, of whom eight must concur to find an indictment.
(3) A grand jury shall be drawn and summoned at the discretion and order of the district judge or as follows:
(a) Whenever one-half of one percent of the registered electors of a county have signed a petition to summon a grand jury and have submitted the petition signatures to the county election administrator, a grand jury shall be summoned and empanelled by the judge of the district court for the county receiving the petition. A grand jury so summoned and empanelled shall:
(i) first consider any cause advanced by those who have brought and signed the petition, but the grand jury is the sole judge of its duration and the breadth and depth of its inquiry; and
(ii) conduct selected open proceedings to allow the public to present information or ask questions, and conduct other proceedings open or closed as it chooses, consistent with Article II, Sections 8,9, and 10 of the Constitution of the State of Montana.
(b) An indictment brought by a grand jury must be prosecuted by the county attorney for the county in which an alleged offense occurred, regardless of prosecutorial discretion. A county attorney who fails to prosecute within 90 days an indictment being handed down by the grand jury may be indicted for obstruction of justice and official misconduct.
(c) If a grand jury summoned under this section is unable to obtain the prosecution of an indictment by the county attorney of the county where the alleged offense occurred, the grand jury may compel prosecutorial assistance from the attorney general or the grand jury may retain a private prosecutor whose fees shall be a lawful claim against the county where the alleged offense occurred.
(d) A grand jury summoned under this section may, in addition to indictments, seek court orders to remedy situations under its investigation and may hire counsel independent of the county attorney’s office.

This section currently reads:

(1) Criminal offenses within the jurisdiction of any court inferior to the district court shall be prosecuted by complaint. All criminal actions in district court, except those on appeal, shall be prosecuted either by information, after examination and commitment by a magistrate or after leave granted by the court, or by indictment without such examination, commitment or leave.
(2) A grand jury shall consist of eleven persons, of whom eight must concur to find an indictment. A grand jury shall be drawn and summoned only at the discretion and order of the district judge.

Support

Supporters

The proposed measure was being supported by some former Montana legislators, according to Sipe. The sponsor of the measure also stated that another notable proponent of the measure was Martin L. “Red” Beckman, who is a former political candidate and tax protester.[6]

Path to the ballot

See also Laws governing the initiative process in Montana

Petition circulators had until the June 18, 2010 petition drive deadline to turn in the required 48,673 signatures, since the proposed measure is a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment. Reports out of Montana were saying that residents had not come across signature gatherers for the measure in the days leading up to the deadline. Counties had until July 16, 2010 to send verified signatures to the Montana Secretary of State's office, where the Secretary of State may or may not qualify it for the ballot, pending another review of signatures. Sponsors of the measure did not collect enough signatures for the ballot.[7][3]

See also

Additional reading

References