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State grand jury fails to indict?


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Per PFT,

POSTED 4:20 p.m. EDT; UPDATED 4:39 p.m. EDT, September 25, 2007


Today, we publicly call upon Virginia Attorney Bob McDonnell to relieve Surry County, Virginia prosecutor Gerald Poindexter of any further involvement in the prosecution of Mike Vick.

We base our position in this regard upon startling video of Poindexter being peppered with questions from the press while leaving the Courthouse on Tuesday, after a grand jury failed to indict Vick on six counts of killing dogs -- even though Vick has admitted to participating in the killing of at least six dogs in April 2007.

"I don't know what was actually put before them," Poindexter said, in reference to the grand jury. "I know what should have been put before them, but I don't know what they actually had before them."

Poindexter bristled at questions regarding his incredible lack of knowledge about this core aspect of his job duties.

Said one reporter, "Did you put before the grand jury their own admission that they killed dogs?"

"I only put a piece of paper before the grand jury," Poindexter said.

Another reporter made it even more simple: "Michael Vick confessed to killing six to eight dogs. . . . Did you put that before the grand jury, yes or no?"

Said Poindexter: "I'm sure it was put before the grand jury."

Reporter: "You're the prosecutor . . . was it or was it not?"

Poindexter then tried to suggest that he had little or no control over the introduction of evidence, suggesting at one point that he's not even allowed to be in the grand jury room.

Folks, this smells bad. Real bad. Prosecutors are always part of the grand jury process. As one prosecutor explained it to me this afternoon, the prosecutor is essentially the quarterback of the procedure. Though the prosecutor doesn't testify, he's the one to ask the questions and to present the exhibits. (And if the procedure somehow is different in Virginia, we call on the members of the bar there who read this site to let us know.)

There's simply no way that a grand jury could have rejected indictments charging Purnell Peace, Quanis Phillips, and Mike Vick with killing at least six dogs based on their admissions -- unless the grand jurors opted to ignore the oath they they took at the outset of the process, or unless Poindexter bungled the situation so badly that the grand jurors didn't know what to do.

Either way, McDonnell needs to step in. Now. Double jeopardy does not apply to grand jury proceedings. Thus, a second effort can be made to secure an indictment.

If McDonnell won't intervene, then the citizens of Surry County need to get behind the write-in candidate who is running against Poindexter in November.

Unless, of course, they're comfortable with having a complete buffoon as their primary law enforcement official.

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PFT is WRONG again! Sorry.


SUSSEX -- A Surry County Circuit Court grand jury this afternoon indicted suspended NFL quarterback Michael Vick on two felony counts related to dogfighting and killing dogs.

It also indicted on similar charges Vick's three codefendants in a federal dogfighting conspiracy case. All four men have pleaded guilty and await sentences of up to five years in U.S. District Court in Richmond.

Vick and the others could get similar sentences in state court. The two statutes cited are both the least serious type of Virginia felony, calling for a maximum prison term of five years.

Vick, of Atlanta, is charged with one count of killing dogs and one count of engaging in dogfighting.

The other defendants in Vick's case are:

Tony Taylor of Hampton, charged today in Surry County with three counts of killing dogs and two counts of engaging in dogfighting.

Purnell A. Peace of Virginia Beach, charged today with one count of killing dogs and one count of engaging in dogfighting.

Quanis L. Phillips of Atlanta, charged today with two counts of engaging in dogfighting.

The state charges do not have any legal bearing on federal action against Vick.

Today's charges were announced in the Sussex County courthouse, where the six-member grand jury had to meet because the Surry courthouse is undergoing renovation.

Surry Commonwealth's Attorney Gerald G. Poindexter indicated today that the sheriff's office presented evidence to the jury, which met in closed session.

The clerk read the charges to a large crowd of news media gathered in the courtroom and outside on the courthouse steps.

Poindexter said very little to a swarm of reporters who followed him as he made his way to his car.

The case against Vick began to unfold in April when his cousin, David Boddie, was arrested in Hampton on drug charges. Boddie gave his address as 1915 Moonlight Road in Surry County, which is Vick's property, where police found numerous dogs and what looked like a dog-training complex.

In July, federal authorities moved in to search the Vick property twice and alleged that a dogfighting venture called Bad Newz Kennels had operated at the Vick property for the past five years.

Vick's co-defendants pleaded guilty to federal charges in July and August before Vick pleaded guilty on Aug. 27.

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