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Special grand jury finds no grounds to indict
In Mar. 13-19 issue
By Greg Wells
Times Journal Managing Editor

Circuit Judge Vernon Miniard on Wednesday, Mar. 12, released the report of the Special Grand Jury that he had withheld last week while he reviewed a motion.

The motion had alleged improprieties in the conduct of the investigation by the grand jury.

In the grand jury’s report, they state they had found no grounds to justify any criminal charges against law enforcement officers.

Following is the full text of the grand jury’s reportó

"We, the Special Grand Jury of Russell County, that was impaneled to investigate alleged misdeeds by various law enforcement officers in Russell County, heard the first testimony November 27, 2007, We heard further testimony December 19, 2007.

We adjourned for approximately 60 days and heard further testimony February 19, 2008. Our next meeting date was February 27, 2008.

We have heard from various sources that the Special Prosecutor was accused of intentionally delaying this matter, but many of us had various obligations and February 27th was the next date that we could all be present. We met until early evening on February 19th and also on February 27th, when we again adjourned until today's date, March 3, 2008.

We have had many names furnished to us of people who allegedly had information and many of them had statements they had signed and many of these people were questioned by Agent Dudinskie.

We heard all of the witnesses that the chief complaining party asked that we hear. We tried to hear every witness and let them say all that they wanted to say even though we went into the early evening on two occasions.

We did not hear all of the power point presentation, but did receive the 122 page supplementing document provided for each Grand Juror.

We have heard from numerous witnesses and have made a diligent effort to investigate the claims that were made against certain law enforcement and government officials, both past and present, in Russell County and after hearing the testimony for several hours and considering the testimony as well as the documentation that we examined, we find no evidence to justify bringing any criminal charges against any of the individuals against whom we heard complaints.

These allegations went back for several years up to and including the date of February 6, 2008. There is probably more evidence that we could have heard, but we have made a diligent effort to investigate this matter and feel that hearing additional witnesses would not be of any benefit nor would it change our conclusion.

Some of the evidence we heard may be more appropriately heard in criminal cases that are presently pending in Russell Circuit Court and would be in the nature of alleged defenses in some of these cases.

As far as we can determine, KBI Agent, John Dudinskie, has very efficiently carried out our instructions in investigating the matters we have asked him to investigate and, of course, has talked to people who were the targets of the investigation.

We feel he has been unfairly vilified for simply doing his job. We appreciate his efforts and would have been very difficult, if not impossible, to have conducted this investigation without his able assistance.

We discussed what our conclusion would be about the evidence we heard and went over a possible written report. This typed report was prepared by the Special Prosecutor, at our direction and we are in full agreement and this is, in fact, our findings and not the findings or decision of the Special Prosecutor or Agent Dudinskie.

We respectfully ask that we be discharged from our duties and that this report be filed of record in the records of the Circuit Court Clerk's Office and made available to the media.

This 3rd day of March 2008.

The following was a handwritten addendum attached to the reportó

We the special grand jury feel that in our opinion Special Prosecutor Barry Bertram acted unbiased to all parties involved in this investigation.

The original foreperson was excused due to illness. The second foreperson appointed to this position thought that it was to be a temporary situation. So therefore upon the request of the second foreperson, a vote was taken and a third foreperson was appointed.

We the special grand jury have read the type written report and we all have adopted it as our own.”

The report was signed by the foreman of the jury.

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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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