On Nov. 11, 2014, it was my honor and pleasure to address the Student Government Association and assembled guests regarding the grand jury process here in Missouri. Though I had done a bit of “homework” in preparation for my part of the “presentation,” the basic function I performed was simply to answer questions from the floor about the grand jury process. I was very pleasantly surprised, not only by the number of very relevant questions posed by those in attendance, but also by the caliber of their depth and understanding of the grand jury process and the justifications for such procedures. The questions posed were universally thoughtful and insightful questions about a process with which not many folks are familiar. Chief among the questioners was Mr. Ralph Watson, president of the Association of Black Collegians, who, through his questions, brought out issues that were of greater importance than the specific operation of any particular grand jury. Mr. Watson’s questions went to the very heart of what participatory democracy means – the willingness of a citizen to take an active role in his or her own government. I am afraid that my answers did very little to address this central and critical issue. Fortunately, Reverend Terrance Moody of the Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church was also present to address the group. His comments and suggestions, more than any others, should have made everyone in the room proud to have participated in the event.
So, I just want to say a public “Thank You” to the SGA executive board for hosting the event. It was very, very well worth attending!
Professor Dane C. Miller
UCM Department of Criminal Justice