July 31, 2014

Jordan Miles, city denied access to grand jury testimony

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette—The civil case filed by Jordan Miles against the city of Pittsburgh isn’t weighty enough to warrant the breaching of the traditional secrecy of federal grand jury proceedings, U.S. District Judge Gary L. Lancaster ruled Tuesday.

The city, seconded by Mr. Miles’ legal team, sought access to transcripts of grand jury testimony that Judge Lancaster indicated could include 40 interviews. The grand jury had probed the 2010 encounter in Homewood between three city police officers and Mr. Miles, then a student at the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts high school, from which Mr. Miles emerged badly beaten. U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton did not find enough evidence to prosecute the officers.

Judge Lancaster said that the city’s arguments for piercing the veil of secrecy around the grand jury proceedings might be applicable if it was a defendant in a criminal case, but don’t apply in the civil case Mr. Miles has filed. He said the city failed to show that the disclosure of the material could avert a possible injustice, or that the need to reveal the testimony outweighed the importance of grand jury secrecy.

Discovery in the case is set to end Oct. 1.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11253/1173630-53.stm