Monday, February 9, 2009
County prosecutors could convene grand juries to deal with serious crimes such as murder under a House bill.
Under state law, grand juries can be convened only by a district judge or through a citizen petition.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Lance Kinzer, said prosecutors should be able to use grand juries to avoid a preliminary hearing, where many details can be made public before a trial.
The Olathe Republican's bill was prompted by the 2007 kidnapping and murder of 18-year-old Kelsey Smith in Johnson County. A grand jury in session at the time indicted Edwin Hall, who was sentenced last year to life in prison without parole.
That grand jury was prompted by a citizen petition.