Friday, July 3, 2009

Secret Grand Jury For Melissa Huckaby?

~Sandra Cantu

Since the March 27 death of Sandra Cantu and the subsequent arrest of 28-year-old Melissa Huckaby, a shroud of secrecy has surrounded the case.

Judge Linda Lofthus’ gag order prevents attorneys, investigators, and potential witnesses from talking about the case. Additionally, Lofthus sealed Sandra Cantu’s autopsy report.

Now it appears a secret grand jury is expected to convene and meet for two weeks beginning July 20. The grand jury will decide if Huckaby will stand trial in open court on charges of kidnap, rape, and murder.

Prosecutors have sent out subpoenas for witnesses to appear in San Joaquin County Superior Court. The witnesses will testify before the grand jury behind closed doors. The defense is not allowed access to the proceeding to cross-examine witnesses.

David Wellenbrock, a retired San Joaquin County prosecutor says that Deputy District Attorney Thomas Testa may have chosen to follow the grand jury route because typically, the grand jury moves much faster than a preliminary hearing in open court. Wellenbeck said, “San Joaquin County Superior Court is notorious for dragging cases out for a long time.”

The grand jury proceeding would take the place of Huckaby's preliminary hearing set for Sept. 24 and will insure all evidence and testimony is kept secret until a jury trial.

The veil of secrecy may also help attorneys find jurors who haven't heard a lot of facts and used them to form an opinion before the trial, thus avoiding a possible change of venue.



Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the update. It's been frustrating not knowing what was happening in this case. I miss Florida's sunshine law. I still find it hard to believe that a female much less a mother would do such a thing.

September MOO

Sprocket said...

As hard as it is to fathom filicide is a reality, and the statistics on parents who kill their own children are tracked by government agencies.

We often think of monsters as being horrible human beings; people who can be easily identifed and those that we think we could spot right away. But the reality is, monsters look just like us. They are often our neighbors, friends and can attend the same house of worship.

CaliGirl9 said...

I can't even look at a photograph of this adorable little girl without thinking where she is now and how she got there.

I predict no swift justice with this trial though. I bet it's going to be yet another example of justice delayed ...

The Patient Advocate said...

That picture of little Sandra is so clear, you can see the wonder in her eyes and it just breaks my heart that she is no longer here.

I will never understand how someone can hurt or KILL a child.

I wish they would study the brain of the woman who did this to see if they can find a reason.

It won't bring Sandra back but maybe it will prevent it from happening to another child.

God bless this little girl.

Anonymous said...

It is hard to believe a woman did such a crime. The defence shoud have an access to all of the information about the case. If somebody else committed the crime is out there free to hurt onother child!