Criminal Procedure

Grand jury chair is a felon; 800 indictments now in question

Indictments from nearly 900 cases in the Nashville area are under review after officials discovered a man who served as grand jury chair in 2011 is a convicted felon.

Eugene Grayer was appointed to lead the grand jury, even though the Davidson County district attorney’s office had been notified of Grayer’s conviction, the Tennessean reports.

Grayer’s conviction for theft in 1977 should have made him ineligible for jury duty. But, the Tennessean notes, he was never subjected to a background check. During his service, the grand jury reviewed 900 indictments. Of those, 800 were resolved mainly via guilty pleas and another 90 are pending.

“However this turns out, this is a bad situation,” District Attorney General Victor S. “Torry” Johnson said during a press conference. ABC News also has the story.

An appeals court is set to decide whether any of the 800 cases, which are also being reviewed by the DA’s office, will need to be retried. News reports indicate that the couple dozen cases that went to trial are the most likely to face retrial.

Grayer’s felony status reportedly came to light after he applied for a handgun permit in 2010 and a background check revealed the conviction. The district attorney’s office was notified of the conviction then, but didn’t make the connection to the grand jury appointment until a clerk handling handgun permit denials alerted the DA’s office, the Tennessean reports.

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