Grand juries could go after white-collar criminals under re-drafted bill

Posted May 13, 2013
Updated May 14, 2013

Rep. Paul Stam

— Prosecutors would be able to convene grand juries to investigate white-collar crimes, including public corruption cases, under a bill that was rewritten in House Judiciary Committee B Monday. 

As originally written, House Bill 908 would have increased the penalties for many crimes. Rep. Paul "Skip" Stam, R-Wake, who spoke for the bill in committee, said he and co-sponsor Rep. Tom Murry, R-Wake, "were looking for something that would really take a bite out of white-collar crime."

Increasing penalties, Stam said, would do little good if the cases couldn't be prosecuted in the first place.

"They are very complicated, paper intensive," Stam said. Prosecutors, he said, need the ability to call in witnesses and examine them under oath. 

Such a measure has long been sought by prosecutors such as Attorney General Roy Cooper and Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby.

As currently drafted, the bill would let prosecutors use grand juries to investigate public corruption cases as well as crimes like embezzlement, extortion, forgery, bribery and obstruction of justice.

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  • whatelseisnew May 13, 2013

    I like the idea, but I hope there is a high level of proof needed before one of these juries can hand down an indictment. Otherwise there could be a lot of money wasted pursuing cases that can not be won.