Lawyer says grand jury rare, Baby Kate case interviews likely investigative subpoenas

May 30, 2013

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Ryan Glanville of Thompson, Thompson and Glanville Attorneys at Law in Ludington, agrees with the theory that Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola may have conducted an investigative subpoena Tuesday in connection with the Katherine “Baby Kate” Phillips disappearance case. (see previous posting here: http://www.masoncountypress.com/2013/05/30/investigative-subpoena-testimony-most-likely-what-took-place-with-baby-kate-witnesses/)

Glanville said there is another process known as a “one man grand jury,” which is also a possibility.

“Under Michigan law MCL 767.3 a judge may order a witness to appear and testify in front of a judge who is the one man grand jury,” Glanville said. “If testimony convinces the judge that there is probable cause a suspect committed a crime, he may order the suspect to be detained and charged. The one man grand jury is also held in privacy. If charges are issued, the judge who acted as the one man grand jury could not also sit as trial judge for the case.”

Michigan stopped having grand juries in the mid-90s, but the one man grand jury still exists.

“Both processes (the investigative subpoena and the one man grand jury) are used when witnesses don’t voluntarily talk to the police or when the prosecutor wants to keep parts of his investigation private from other potential witnesses,” he said. “If the judge finds probable cause then the he will hold the defendant over to stand trial; he would order the person be arrested and charges would be filed against him or her.”

Glanville said the advantage over the one man grand jury is that it can be done quickly and it can be done in secret. He said he has been involved in cases involving drug dealers, for example, where audience members are clearly listening in to find out what the witness is going to say. Most district and circuit court proceedings are open to the public.

Glanville said the one man grand jury is very uncommon in Mason County. MCP was contacted by a former law enforcement official who did say he was involved with one several years ago. He said the investigative subpoena is more common here. He did not know why the prosecutor would not directly explain that to the media, however.

Spaniola told WMOM radio, which first reported on the story, that he was not conducting a grand jury.

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