Statement of NJSBA President Kimberly A. Yonta on today's state Supreme Court decision in State v. Vega-Larregui, regarding the constitutionality of virtual grand jury proceedings

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April 28, 2021
Contact: Kate Coscarelli
We respect the challenges faced by the Court in balancing the conditions imposed by the public health emergency against the importance of the continued operation of the courts, including the critical work of grand juries. We agree with the Court in looking forward, “in the near future to a return to normalcy and to reopened courthouses -- and to grand jurors sitting together in the same room where testimony is taken.” Our priority has always been to ensure that the rights guaranteed by our Constitution are preserved, regardless of how the proceedings are fashioned. Viewing the opinion through that lens, we appreciate that the Court provided some guidance on best practices prosecutors should follow in order to remove ambiguities in proceedings, ensure grand jurors can fully see and hear the presentation, and an accurate record is produced. Having a clear path to follow is important for everyone at every stage in the proceedings. We are pleased the Court acknowledged there are times when challenges will be appropriate for individual cases and will continue to examine the myriad issues presented by the pandemic.  
Read today's decision here. Read the NJSBA amicus brief here.