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Judge Sol Wachter once famously said that a prosecutor could get a grand jury to "indict a ham sandwich." While that may seem funny to some, it is an alarming concept to think about in the context of our country's system of jurisprudence for many others. I have often heard this phrase repeated in popular culture through television, movies or in casual conversation when discussing the court system. It refers to the idea that many times prosecutors achieve indictments against someone, almost regardless of the circumstances, when they place a case before a grand jury.
Most recently, this issue of the impartiality of a jury has been thrust front and center into the public's consciousness. The recent decisions by a Missouri grand jury to not indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, and in New York City to not indict Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner have left many asking the question: Are grand jurors blind when assessing the facts of the case?