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Cops & Courts

Prosecutor: More drug cases lead to more grand juries

  • Thompson-Forrest-S-jpg

    Medina County Prosecutor S. Forrest Thompson

    PHOTO PROVIDED

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MEDINA — An uptick in drug-related cases has triggered an additional grand jury session, Medina County Prosecutor S. Forrest Thompson said Thursday.

Effective this month, the grand jury will meet three times a month instead of two.

“It had become too onerous to try to process the number of cases in two grand juries,” Thompson said. “We felt that expanding the schedule of the grand jury would benefit so that they had more adequate time to review.”

A grand jury is legal body that investigates potential criminal conduct and determines whether criminal charges should be brought against the accused.

Thompson said a grand jury reviews an average of 50 cases per month, noting the “majority” are drug-related. He said charges could involve possession, sale and transportation, and burglary or robbery crimes that are committed because of drugs.

“It was more efficient for us to go to three grand juries than to push two grand juries even longer,” he said.

During Thompson’s election campaign last fall, Thompson emphasized the need to prosecute child support cases. Since he took office, he said the cases account for about 10 percent to 15 percent of the grand jury’s average number of cases.

“It’s a critical issue,” Thompson said. “Even though the number of cases we have filed this year represents a large increase, (nonsupport cases) are still a small percentage of the overall cases filed.”

But Thompson said those filings did not lead the system to add another grand jury session.

“It certainly is part of the equation but not the primary part of the equation,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, if we were able to prosecute the felony nonsupport cases faster, meaning if we could put more through the process, we would.”

Thompson said a grand jury has no limit — minimum or maximum — as to how many cases it can review in any time period.

Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or hheironimus@medina-gazette.com.

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