Twenty members of a local group that advocates formation of a “common law grand jury” in Delta County asked the county commissioners for funding on Monday, but they did not receive any support. County commission chair Bruce Hovde told the group, “The county is not in a (financial) position to do any funding.”
Besides declining to provide funding or other support, commissioners expressed issues with all key points of the group’s program.
Commissioner Doug Atchley stated his view, based on the U.S. Constitution, that American government has three branches, not four.
The group had previously given commissioners information on their program, and Atchley noted that the grand juries in use today do not have authority to determine guilt or innocence, as in his view the common law grand jury apparently would.
“I am not inclined to give you space in the courthouse, not inclined to give you funding, and I am not inclined to recognize you, “Atchley said.
Hovde said, “I concur with Commissioner Atchley. There are (legal) procedures already in place to call a grand jury.
“The county is not in a position, by my call, to fund you or provide space. I do not recognize you as having the authority to be a grand jury.”
In spite of disagreements, the discussion, if pointed, was amiable.
“I commend you for coming,” Hovde said. “I appreciate your concerns. But we follow the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and also the law. We have obligations under the law that we must follow.”
The Constitution prevailed once again.