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When the York County Grand Jury returned over 900 indictments in a single day in June, more than one local defense attorney noticed. After all, that number is two to three times the number that is usually returned in a month, let alone a day. As reported, the math works out to 39 seconds per indictment.
The motion to quash, which 27 different defense counsel signed onto, alleges that there is no way the grand jury could have adequately done its job in that short a time. The motion basically asserts that the grand jury just rubber stamped every single indictment, and given the 39 second time frame, shuffling some papers, inking a stamp, and thrusting it down on paper likely accounted for all of it. The motion also demands that the entire grand jury be discharged, and for a new one to empaneled.
Blaming Procedure That Doesn't Exist
While York County prosecutors maintain that the indictments were valid, and that the grand jury worked a hard 10-hour day to get that many done, it also shifts some of the blame to a change in procedure (that hadn't actually taken place yet).
That change involves allowing defendants a right to a probable cause hearing before a matter gets submitted to a grand jury. Also, prosecutors noted that several of the indicted defendants were charged with several offenses, and that just one pair of defendants had over 40.
For defense counsel though, that proposed change in procedure isn't a valid excuse for eschewing the duties of a grand jury to investigate cases before handing down an indictment. This would seem particularly true given that the new procedure seems to instill further safeguards from grand jury overreach.
When asked for comment by the press, many of the attorneys had the same thing to say: the motion speaks for itself. Unfortunately, the press doesn't speak fluent motion, and much of the details were left out of the reporting.
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