CHARLESTON - Mississippi County's prosecutor is hoping for judicial approval to convene a grand jury.
County commissioners approved $5,000 to cover grand jury expenses during a recent County Commission meeting, according to Darren Cann, Mississippi County prosecuting attorney.
Cann said he is now waiting for an OK from Circuit Judge David Dolan. "I've notified him that the County Commission has approved the money," he said.
The grand jury may have two murder cases to deal with, Cann said, but it was requested primarily for drug cases. "I have approximately 60 from the Charleston DPS, about 25 drug cases from the Sheriff's Department, and 25 to 30 of them from the drug task force agency, so there's quite a few of them," he said.
Cann said he can get all the cases through the system in one four-month term and is looking forward to beginning as soon as possible.
A grand jury streamlines the judicial process by determining whether there is probable cause, Cann explained, so a defendant who is indicted goes straight to circuit court without having a preliminary hearing.
Grand juries are particularly useful in drug cases as the identity of confidential informants or information about covert surveillance operations aren't revealed during a preliminary hearing.