Citizens Start Grand Jury Investigation of Abortion Doctor


Thanks to an 1887 law, pro-life Kansans have circumvented their prosecutors and called a grand jury to investigate a doctor they accuse of providing late-term abortions for three decades.

The dusty state statute only asks ordinary citizens to gather enough signatures, before they call a grand jury to investigate an alleged crime. A 15-member grand jury is now investigating Dr. George Tiller, thanks to the prosecutor-not-needed mechanism.

Active citizens have begun to use the statute, long ignored, to investigate abortion clinics, as well as stores selling explicit videos and magazines. Leaving polarizing issues like abortion aside, I could imagine this law invigorating citizens to get involved in their community and set an agenda that may differ from the prosecutors. Of course, civically active individuals don't always accurately represent the community as a whole.

Should communities reserve this sort of people's justice for only the most necessary cases, like government corruption and abuse of power? What sort of reaction would citizens have if politicians tried to repeal the statute?

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