Grand jury wants to talk about case

February 13, 2008 8:09:00 PM PST
There are new developments that could make a Texas Supreme Court Justice a little uneasy.Judge David Medina was indicted for evidence tampering last month and his wife was indicted for arson. This is all in connection with a June fire that destroyed the Medina's home. The indictments were dropped just hours after the grand jury handed them down.

Grand jurors do their business in secret. They could go to jail if they reveal those secrets. But this afternoon, six of the 12 grand jurors who indicted David Medina and his wife filed a lawsuit against Chuck Rosenthal.

They want to tell you and another grand jury how they believe the fire started at the judge's home. According to Harris County prosecutors, the fire at the Medina's home remains an open case. The assistant DA on the case has repeatedly said there's not evidence yet to indict the Supreme Court judge and his wife.

Now at least six of the grand jurors say the DA's office is wrong.

"We've got people saying there's no evidence and there are 12 of us who say there was evidence," said grand juror Jeffrey Dorrell. "We are asking a court to give us permission to talk about it."

These grand jurors have talked about their service and the dismissals of the indictments, but not about the evidence. They want to but the law may not allow let them. So they're suing to get a judge to promise they won't be prosecuted if they speak out.

"They've got nothing to hide," said David Medina's lawyer Terry Yates.

Medina's lawyer Terry Yates said the indictments came from a runaway grand jury and accused a few grand jurors of having political motives. Yates got a judge to throw the Medina's indictments out after discovering a paperwork error that technically meant the grand jury wasn't legally a grand jury. But Yates says that's not enough to throw their secrecy oath out.

"Technically they weren't, but the law applies to them," Yates said. "What they learn under the color of law they can't go out and talk about."

The lawsuit is an unusual action. Dorrell, the grand juror and lawyer who filed the suit, had to go back to 1928 to find a similar case. Then jurors were allowed to speak out. Eighty years later a judge will consider it again. In the meantime, no one's been charged in connection to the fire that destroyed a judge's home.

"Maybe I am old fashioned, but I think there's evidence you burned your house down and then tried to cover it up, you should go to court and prove you are innocent of ," said Dorrell.

The assistant DA who handled the case told us that he will take the case back to a grand jury sometime in the next six months. And added he does not believe the grand jurors should be able to speak out on their own.

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