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Multijurisdictional grand jury to assist prosecution of dangerous crimes

In In the News by admin

~New multijurisdictional grand jury to assist prosecution of dangerous crimes, help keep Virginians safe in central Virginia~

Powhatan, Va. – Today, Attorney General Mark R. Herring, Powhatan County Commonwealth’s Attorney Richard Cox, Powhatan Sheriff Brad Nunnally, and Powhatan County Circuit Court Clerk Teresa Hash Dobbins announced the recent formation of a new multijurisdictional Grand Jury to reside in Powhatan County. The participating jurisdictions include the counties of Amelia, Goochland, Powhatan and Prince Edward.

The multijurisdictional Grand Jury is an investigative body of seven to eleven citizens from the participating counties charged by the Supreme Court of Virginia to investigate and consider bills of indictment involving crimes originating in and between participating jurisdictions and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, which is particularly helpful in situations involving gang violence, child exploitation, human trafficking, drug dealing and other crimes that cross county lines.

The Grand Jury is empowered to subpoena witnesses and documents, hear evidence and determine the existence of probable cause for offense including, but not limited to:

  1. Gang Offenses
  2. All Drug Offenses
  3. Computer Crimes
  4. Murder
  5. Abduction
  6. Embezzlement
  7. Extortion
  8. Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud
  9. Gambling Offenses
  10. Bribery
  11. Felony Obstruction of Justice
  12. Felony Cruelty to Animals

“A multijurisdictional grand jury is a great tool to investigate and prosecute dangerous crimes that often cross county lines like gang violence, child exploitation, and more,” said Attorney General Herring. “My top priority as Attorney General is keeping Virginians, their families, and their communities safe and multijurisdictional grand juries are an important way to help us do that.”

“I’m looking forward to my new role as coordinator and I believe that a multijurisdictional grand jury is an extraordinary tool for law enforcement,” said Rob Cerullo of the Powhatan Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, who will be coordinating the grand jury as Powhatan’s Special Counsel and be the liaison between the grand jury and all the participating counties. He will also be the lead counsel on any cases with ties to Powhatan or being investigated by the Powhatan County Sheriff’s office.  “The grand jury will allow the participating jurisdictions to make a major step forward in their ability to investigate and prosecute serious crimes in the area. ”

“Based on my experience working with multijurisdictional grand juries in other localities, it is the most effective way to ensure a thorough and timely investigation of complex criminal cases,” said Richard Cox, Powhatan County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney.

“The multijurisdictional grand jury will be an excellent tool to help investigate crimes in our region,” said Amelia County Commonwealth’s Attorney Lee R. Harrison. “My office is excited for the opportunity to work with our neighboring jurisdictions to help ensure the safety of our citizens.”

“I welcome this opportunity for the citizens of Powhatan County to have direct involvement in combating crime in the community,” said Powhatan Sheriff Brad Nunnally. “I would also like to thank the Powhatan County Commonwealth’s Attorney for initiating this process and for bringing it to fruition.”

“My office is very excited about the grand jury,” said Powhatan County Circuit Court Clerk Teresa Hash Dobbins. “I look forward to working with the Sheriff and the Commonwealth’s Attorney on this new venture and believe it will be highly beneficial to the citizens of Powhatan.”

Each jurisdiction and Attorney General Herring’s office will assign Special Prosecutors and investigators to the Grand Jury to both investigate and prosecute crime in each of the participating jurisdictions.   The Grand Jury will meet once a month for 12 months at the Powhatan County Courthouse. Judge Paul W. Cella will be the presiding judge for the Grand Jury.