YORK COUNTY, S.C. -- A judge will decide in the coming weeks if hundreds of indictments in York County could be tossed out after defense lawyers say the grand jury rushed through the details of each case.
The York County grand jury is made up of 18 residents who are selected from the county’s voter registration and driver’s license log. Jurors meet once a month are in charge of listening to the basic facts of a criminal case. From there, the panel decides if a case should head to trial.
This week, 27 public and private defense lawyers filed a motion claiming the jurors did not properly do their jobs and now wants a judge to remove the jurors from their positions.
According to the document, on June 14, the grand jury worked from 8:30 a.m. to 6:20 p.m. On that day, the grand jury true-billed 904 charges.
This means 904 charges were indicted in a single day in a period of 10 hours, which means the jurors spent 39 seconds on each case.
NBC Charlotte’s Billie Jean Shaw spoke with 17-year-old Octavio Hall who is one of the hundreds who was indicted.
“That just makes me mad to know they wouldn’t take the time to prosecute me rightfully,” Hall said.
In the motion, the defense lawyers say it is impossible for the grand jury to make an accurate decision on whether to indict in just a matter of seconds. The motion says it not the duty of the jury to “rubberstamp each and every case presented to them.”
The lawyers also said the grand jury deprived the defendants of their due process.
The 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett says the 904 indictments are doubled the number of charges usually processed by the jurors. The heavy load comes after changes were made to the preliminary hearing procedure which allowed the Solicitor Kevin Brackett to take the 904 indictments directly to the grand jury.
Solicitor Brackett tells NBC Charlotte he disagrees with the defense lawyer’s decision to file a motion requesting the indictments and grand jury be dismissed. He said the jury had a total of 904 charges, not cases and stands behind the jury’s decisions.
“Sometimes the facts are not always complicated,” Brackett said. “It’s up for the grand jury to decide how much info they need before they’re comfortable issuing a true bill indictment.”
Stick with WCNC.com for the latest on this developing story.