Fred's "American Legal Quotations" scores a hit

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Oct 3 01:27:28 UTC 2013

Yes Salem is in Massachusetts.  In its colonial law, all capital
crimes had to be presented to and by a grand jury.  It was the
prevalent belief, not only of magistrates but also of the people,
that witches existed.  The controversy was whether spectral evidence
was valid.  After about 100 (I think) had been convicted and about 20
executed, there was widespread repugnance.  We can't say what later
grand juries would have done, because the prosecutions were halted by
a newly-appointed governor.


At 10/1/2013 10:58 PM, David A. Daniel wrote:
>Isn't Salem - as in witch hunting - in Massachusetts? Did they have grand
>juries? If so, I guess all those charges must have been justified.
>-Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 8:58 PM
>Subject: Fred's "American Legal Quotations" scores a hit
>poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>Subject:      Fred's "American Legal Quotations" scores a hit
>"There is a famous saying, a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich,"
>said Bassil.  "I look forward to challenging this in court.  I really
>do.  If a grand jury is supposed to protect citizens from
>overreaching prosecutors, then there is a lot of work to be done here."
>Bassil, counsel for Shayanna Jenkins, Aaron Hernandez's fiancee and
>baby mother, is objecting to her indictment for perjury by a Bristol
>County, Massachusetts, grand jury.  A spokesman for the Bristol
>District Attorney "defended the grand jury process, noting that the
>indictment was voted on by the grand jurors, who are citizens of
>Bristol County."
>Boston Globe, today.
>Massachusetts has a long history of grand juries not indicting ham
>sandwiches, dating from colonial times, when if a law was considered
>overly severe or its punishment harsh, the citizens of a grand jury
>might refuse to indict and those of a petit jury refuse to
>convict.  (One good example is charges of adultery.)  Bassil seems
>not to understand the rectitude of Massachusetts grand juries -- if
>this one thought the charge was unjust, it would not have voted to indict.
>The American Dialect Society -
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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