Will Special Grand Jury Expand Their Investigation Into Areas Of AllegationsRickey Stokes
Posted by: RStokes
Date: Dec 09 2012 10:31 PM
HOUSTON COUNTY: On Friday RSN spoke with District Attorney Valeska about some general Grand Jury questions and then some specific questions in relationship to the Special Grand Jury request of the Alabama Attorney General’s Office.
District Attorney Doug Valeska made it clear to me…this request was from the Attorney General Office. While District Attorney Doug Valeska had a Grand Jury, the Attorney General wanted his own Grand Jury.
While the Attorney General has included his name in the press release concerning the search warrant of Center Stage and has included Doug Valeska name on subpoenas issued, HE IS NOT involved in the actions of the Attorney General. Valeska said he has not been involved in their actions.
QUESTION: The man who is elected and in charge of Grand Juries and criminal prosecutions in Houston and Henry County is not involved with the actions of the Attorney General in the special Grand Jury and raid of Center Stage?
QUESTION: In the botched raids under former Alabama Governor Bob Riley by David Barber and John Tyson of Country Crossings, were you involved?
QUESTION: Is a Grand Jury required to only listen to what the prosecutor, whether District Attorney or Attorney General presents to them, or can they expand their investigation into other areas or additional witnesses?
ANSWER: The Grand Jury can expand their investigation. The Grand Jury has the authority to request additional evidence be gathered and additional witnesses appear before them. The Grand Jury is not bound to only what the prosecutor pres Jury ents to them.
QUESTION: So many rumors as to money being accepted by former Alabama Governor Bob Riley, by current Attorney General Luther Strange and the Alabama Republican Party which resulted in the actions of Riley, David Barber, John Tyson and Luther Strange. Does the Grand Jury have the authority to require evidence be presented through subpoenas and testimony to explore that issue and if it is indeed true?
ANSWER: Some issues would be jurisdiction. Any crimes alleged to have been committed by statewide public jurisdiction is prosecutable in Montgomery County and not Houston County. The Grand Jury would have some powers to investigate if there was evidence it involved Houston County.
NOTE: These answers are not “word for word” answers from Doug Valeska. However, there are my understanding as to the answers. District Attorney Doug Valeska did not initiate these questions. However Doug was honest with me in the answers in this and other matters in question over the past couple of years.
District Attorney Doug Valeska was not critical of the Alabama Attorney General’s Office or Luther Strange. He was strictly responding to questions I have concerning the Grand Jury process, the powers and duties of the Grand Jury.
ALABAMA RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
Duties of Foreman of Grand Jury
(b) DUTIES OF FOREMAN. It is the duty of the foreman to:
(1) Preside over the grand jury proceedings;
(2) Issue or cause to be issued subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum
for any witnesses whom the grand jury may require to give evidence, and if
witnesses so summoned fail to appear, to endorse the returned subpoenas as
Statement in the Rules Concerning Grand Jury taken from the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure
Once the grand jury is empaneled and sworn as provided by statute, “it becomes
the supreme inquisitorial body of the county, and no preliminary act of any court
or judge can limit its powers.” State v. Knighton, 21 Ala.App. 330, 331, 108 So.
Persons who can be present for Grand Jury proceedings
Rule 12.6. Persons authorized to be present during sessions of grand jury.
No person other than the grand jurors, the witnesses under examination,
the district attorneys or assistant district attorneys, or others authorized by law to
present evidence to the grand jury, a grand jury reporter or stenographer, and an
interpreter, if any, shall be present during sessions of the grand jury; provided,
however, that this rule shall not be construed as prohibiting the use of sound
recording devices by the district attorney while witnesses are giving their
testimony before the grand jury. No person other than the grand jurors shall be
present during their deliberation and voting.
RSN – In Conclusion
The current members of the Houston County Commission and two former members of the Houston County Commission have been issued summons to appear on Monday, December 10, 2012 before the Attorney General Grand Jury.
Houston County Commissioner Melinda McClendon has only been a Houston County Commissioner for a couple of months. Since serving on the commission, we know of no issues coming before the commission in regards to electronic bingo or Center Stage.
Houston County Commissioners Doug Sinquefield and Commissioner Jackie Battles are serving in their first term. RSN can not recall any issue before the commission in reference to Center Stage or electronic bingo since they came to the commission. Well, unless you would call Mike Gamble speaking before the commission an issue.
Current Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver and Current Houston County Commissioner Curtis Harvey served on the commission when the issue of Country Crossings and electronic bingo first surfaced. Former Houston County Commissioners Francis Cook and Bobby Snellgrove served on the commission when the issue of Country Crossings and electronic bingo first surfaced.
Current Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange served as a “paid lobbyist” for Focus 2000 before being elected Attorney General. As the lobbyist, Strange was in Houston County and Florida working for the I-10 connector as a private toll road. In meetings, Lobbyist Strange supported the toll road coming near Country Crossings for economic development. Now as Attorney General, Strange is in opposition to what he supported at one time in Houston County. It is not clear if the Special Grand Jury might explore the relationship and actions of Strange. That combined with the information recently published in Montgomery on monies alleged to have been funneled to Strange and the Republican Party by the Indians.
In a recent meeting Strange is reported to have made the statement that electronic bingo was over and gone from Alabama. Well, gone in Alabama except for the Indians. This Grand Jury might expand the scope of the investigation into the allegations of the money given by the Indians and the $ 7.9 million dollars funneled from Bob Riley to Luther Strange ear marked to fight electronic bingo.
The Grand Jurors, according to what has been explained to me by one who has conducted hundreds of Grand Juries, certainly has the power to expand the investigation.