Four grand jurors are seeking the Harris County district attorney's protection so that they can go public with evidence they heard when they decided to indict a Texas Supreme Court Justice and his wife on arson charges.
The lawsuit, filed in criminal court after hours Friday, seeks Pat Lykos' protection from prosecution if four of the 12 jurors go public with evidence heard in the 2008 case against David and Francisca Medina. The arson charges were later dismissed.
It's a last-ditch legal effort by the grand jurors, who have previously filed lawsuits in civil and appellate court. The appellate court didn't have jurisdiction over criminal law requiring secrecy of grand jury testimony and evidence, said attorney Jeffrey Dorrell, one of the grand jurors who filed the lawsuit.
Background articles from the Chron:
Indictments tossed against Texas Supreme Court justice, wife (1/18/08)
Judge blisters Harris County DA over Medina case -- says Rosenthal's error nullified the grand jury's work (1/23/08)
DA (Lykos) drops fire charges against justice's wife (8/28/09)
Grand juror not happy Medina case dismissed -- says jury should have heard about the fire at home of justice and his wife, who could have been indicted (8/29/09)
Some of the grand jurors who heard the case have been fighting to speak openly about evidence since (former district attorney Chuck) Rosenthal dismissed the indictments in January 2008, creating a storm of controversy.
The four grand jurors who filed the suit in criminal court — Dan Hall, Steven Howell, Jeffrey Dorrell and foreman Robert Ryan — claim disclosing evidence in the case is their defense against defamatory attacks made by David Medina's attorney.
"Plaintiffs seek a declaration that they have both the right and the privilege to disclose evidence showing they were not a 'runaway grand jury' when they indicted Texas Supreme Court Justice David M. Medina for evidence tampering," the suit reads.
Grand juror Dorrell sees criminal court as the last hope to speak openly about evidence without fear of being prosecuted.
If they aren't granted that protection, Dorrell said, he hasn't ruled out facing consequences that could potentially include a 30-day jail sentence.
"I'd have to think about it, but I'd consider it," he said.
The comments on this article might be the best part. Two examples:
Geesh, let’s get the truth about these hypocrite repubs out. It’s not like they were executed for an arson they didn’t commit.
... and ...
I like Pat, but, she is sure looking like a one term DA. In fact she will most probably cause us to have a Democrat DA next election.