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The call to release testimony heard by the Staten Island grand jury that cleared Daniel Pantaleo got a big boost last week, when Public Advocate Letitia James and two legal advocacy groups applied to have a wide range of materials from the proceedings disclosed.
The court in Staten Island has so far released only the most basic information about the grand jury that examined Eric Garner’s death.
The secrecy isn’t unusual — grand jury testimony is confidential in New York, as it is in many other states — but after the grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, released virtually every bit of evidence heard in their examination of Michael Brown’s fatal encounter with Darren Wilson, the idea of making the testimony public has gained traction.
James, along with the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Legal Aid Society, made their motions for release last week. Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU, said their filings had been under seal until Thursday, and the parties were bound by a gag order that prohibited them even from talking about the effort.
She said the release of testimony is the only way to know how the prosecutor, Richmond County (Staten Island) D.A. Daniel Donovan, approached the case.
More at the Village Voice.