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Congressman Proposes Series of "Grand Jury Tweaks"

Under the reform proposal, a maximum of 35 police officers will be allowed to apprehend individuals who are holding their hands in the air.

Congress is set up to vote on a proposal addressing grand jury reform that, according to Congressman James Beam (R-OH), is "a series of quick, easy fixes for a justice system that clearly isn't broken." 

"I know that people have had a lot of things to say about our grand juries recently, but I assure you that our American justice system is as dependable and strong as our American cars," he went on. "You just need to make a couple of quick tweaks, fix the scratches, and unquestioningly arrest the first guy who looks like he might have keyed your car."

For instance, one of the measures will have grand juries wait at least 15 minutes before deciding not to bring criminal charges against a police officer. All members of a grand jury will have to spend at least a quarter of an hour listening to testimony, looking at evidence, or talking about each others’ weekends before dropping cases of police violence. Additionally, the plan provides for each grand jury to be provided with a large digital “Justice Countdown Clock”, which will start playing “The Stars and Stripes Forever” after the allotted time has expired.

"We weren't sure that the whole time limit thing was really a big deal," said Beam, "but we got a deal on clocks."

 The proposal also calls for new requirements to ensure that proper evidence is provided in law enforcement-related cases. All officers will be required to carry a camera, such as a Canon PowerShot, a Nikon COOLPIX, or a Panasonic Lumix, and they will be expected to take at least one photograph for every call to which they respond. Red-eye will not be permitted in the grand jury hearing.

Finally, advocates for the measure hope to mitigate problems of police brutality. When faced with a situation that has potential to escalate, police officers will be expected to count to ten. During that period, however, they can still act in order to protect themselves; thus, a police officer may scream out the numbers while holding their gun in front of an unarmed black teenager. 

“We know there’s been a lot of discussion lately about the ways in which our justice system operates,” says Jordan Loman, an aide for Congressman Frank Holt (R-MO), one of the lawmakers who is sponsoring the proposal, in a phone interview. “And we just wanted to let everyone know that we hear you, loud and clear.

“Wait, you sound a little garbled,” he continued. “Maybe I should hang up and we can talk about this some other time?”

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