The Inyo Grand Jury hit District Attorney Art Maillet with a wet hanky when it came to allegations that he authorized the illegal release of confidential documents on his political opponent and about never talking to the media. However, they did say a little bit about how jurors are called to court and how plea bargaining goes on until the last minute by the DA.
Although the DA does not deal with trial jurors, the Grand Jury did look at what they called an increased number of summonses to potential jurors. They also commented on a lack of timely plea bargaining by the District Attorney’s office, sentencing guidelines and other settlement issues to deal with what the Jury said is a backlog of court cases.
The Jury found that there is “a need to improve timely court processes.” They said that the District Attorney “strongly refutes any allegations related to plea bargaining in a timely manner and stated that it is the policy of his office to offer a reasonable settlement early in the court proceedings.” It is not at all clear if the Grand Jury interviewed anyone but the DA on this matter.
The Grand Jury suggests that trial judges should “hold all parties to timely plea processes before setting trial dates.” The Jury Report says plea deals should be agreed upon prior to trial dates without last minute sweeteners offered. The Jury leans on Inyo’s judges to deal with this.
The Grand Jury also recommended hiring a retired judge from outside the County to head a panel directed to study the current court system for improvements.