danae kelly, a real good friend of mine is sitting in federal prison for refusing to testify to a grand jury. here's what wikipedia had to say about the grand juries:
Criticism of the Grand Jury
Some argue that the grand jury is unjust as the defendant is not represented by counsel and/or does not have the right to call witnesses.
In practice, a grand jury rarely acts in a manner contrary to the wishes of the prosecutor. Judge Sol Wachtler, the former Chief Judge of New York State, was quoted as saying, "A grand jury would indict a ham sandwich". As such, many jurisdictions in the United States have replaced the formality of a grand jury with a procedure in which the prosecutor can issue charges by filing an information (also known as an accusation) which is followed by a preliminary hearing before a Judge at which both the defendant and his or her counsel are present. New York State itself has changed procedures that define how grand juries are formed to no longer require jurors to have former jury experience.
In some rare instances, the grand jury does break with the prosecutor. It can even exclude the prosecutor from its meetings and subpoena witnesses and issue indictments on its own. This is called a "runaway grand jury". Runaway grand juries sometimes happen in government corruption or organized crime cases, if the grand jury comes to believe that the prosecutor himself has been improperly influenced. They were common in the 19th century but have become rare since the 1930's. 
In all U.S. jurisdictions retaining the grand jury, the defendant has the right under the Fifth Amendment not to give self-incriminating testimony. However, the prosecutor can call the defendant to testify and require the defendant to assert the right on a question-by-question basis, which is prohibited in jury trials unless the defendant has voluntarily testified on his own behalf. Other evidentiary rules applicable to trials (such as the hearsay rule) are generally not applicable to grand jury proceedings.
the feds have been using grand juries against animal rights / eco-defense activist for years now. danae, like all political prisoners, needs our love and support now more than ever.
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