Update on the Montana Grand Jury!

Thank you, Duane Sipe, for sending this in.  Interestingly, news had been posted, which is linked here!

November 10, 2009

The Office of Montana’s Secretary of State Has Accepted a Draft Ballot Initiative Seeking to Provide the Citizens of Montana the Ability to Summon Grand Juries By Petition

Stevensville, Montana, November 10, 2009 – The office of Montana’s Secretary of State (SOS) in Helena has accepted a ballot initiative, to be reviewed by the office of Legislative Services. This is the beginning stage of placing the initiative on the 2010 general election ballot.

This initiative has been labeled ‘Ballot Issue #18’ by the SOS, and is a Constitutional Initiative (CI), seeking to amend Montana’s Constitution, providing for the ability of the citizens to summon Grand Juries by petition.

Currently, the Montana Constitution only provides that a District Judge, at their discretion, may summon a Grand Jury. Article II, Section 20, Paragraph 2 states: “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.”

Serving as a ‘check and balance’ for the Constitutional Republic known as the United States, the Founders had preserved for the citizens, the right and ability to assure that the public servants kept their activities in line with the intent of the Constitution, and its Bill of Rights, which were ratified on December 15, 1791. The term Grand Jury is mentioned only in the 5th amendment to the United States Constitution. It is meant to be a right retained by the people. It is a citizen function, not a government function, as the public has been lead to believe.

What do the courts have to say?

“An independent grand jury is to stand between the prosecutor and the accused, and to determine whether a charge is legitimate, or is dictated by malice or personal ill will.”

”Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S. 43 (1906)

The Supreme Court states that the independent grand jury’s purpose is not only to investigate possible criminal conduct, but to act as a “protector of citizens against arbitrary and oppressive governmental action,” and to perform its functions; the independent grand jury “deliberates in secret and may determine alone the course of its inquiry.”

United States v. Calandra, 414 U.S. 338 (1974)

Article IV, Section 4 of The United States Constitution says: “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government …” And, Montana is this form of government. As such, the Montana Constitution states in Section 1: “Popular sovereignty. All political power is vested in and derived from the people. All government of right originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole.”

And, in Section 2: “Self-government. The people have the exclusive right of governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and independent state. They may alter or abolish the constitution and form of government whenever they deem it necessary.”

The Founders’ intended for the sovereign citizens to ‘lend’ the public servants their specific duties. Among these is the preservation of constitutionally protected rights. The servants are not in a position, and do not have the ability to take away these sovereign, constitutionally secured rights and powers of the people.

Amending Montana’s Constitution as indicated will serve to restore the Founders’ intent, at the state level, regarding the position of, and political responsibilities required by, the citizenry.

Duane Sipe

Also – a link to his earlier submitted ConOp!

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One Response to Update on the Montana Grand Jury!

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