So point for Steve, but expecting people to excuse themselves from the topics they care most about is still a dumb system.
Fortunately, most of these cases were "rubber stamp formalities," because "prosecutors throw out the cases they can't win before they even get to a grand jury." However, one case came up during Steve's term where that wasn't an option. "When it comes to officer-involved shootings, they don't get a choice. All the evidence has to be presented to a grand jury, and the grand jury decides whether or not to indict."
Since the job of the grand jury isn't "to decide if someone is guilty beyond reasonable doubt, [but] only [to] decide whether or not the accused probably committed the crime," most cases are decided in literal seconds. "I think one time we got through a dozen DWIs in about five minutes," Steve says.
A driver who pukes a Miller High Life bottle cap and demands the cop play "Free Bird" doesn't exactly require a Netflix documentary breakdown.
But the officer shooting case involved "11 hours of being presented evidence and interviewing witnesses spread out over several days." And for a switch-up, the jury themselves asked the questions. "The interviews happened in two stages. First a lawyer would ask a series of questions, then the members of the jury would get a chance to ask questions."
Yes, our justice system includes audience Q&A's. This mostly comes up in the form of character witnesses for the victim.
"It's common in cases like this to bring out people who knew the victim to talk about what kind of person they were." This is what's known as "hearsay," and it's thrown out the nearest thing they can find to a window in a trial, but not in a grand jury. "It's the only time when hearsay is admissible."
"There's no way Bob could be the Cannibal Killer! He's ... um ... vegan. Yeah"
Given that kind of flexibility, and because there's "not a judge there to say you're not following the law," things can get a little more subjective than most juries are allowed. "There were things that came up -- like, even in the grand jury room after we'd been coached on things, there were people on the jury who felt that the officers shot too much. And there's really no legal definition of 'shot too much.'"