February 20, 2013
CHARLESTON — After an incident occurred in his home county of Mingo that brought to light that the current West Virginia Statute regarding jury misconduct only carries a potential penalty of 10 days in jail and a $50 fine, West Virginia House of Delegates member Justin Marcum (D-Mingo, Logan) has introduced a bill (HB 2498) that would make it a crime (misdemeanor) for any person sitting on a grand jury to disclose the identity of an individual who will be or has been indicted for a crime.
Delegate Marcum believes this bill will increase officer and witness safety, preserve evidence, and increase judicial efficiency.
“This bill is vital to protect witnesses, victims, and officers. In Mingo County, during a recent drug roundup, a grand juror informed a criminal defendant who fled to Detroit, Michigan to avoid capture, while the other two she gave a heads up to fled to Columbus, Ohio and to Kentucky,” stated Marcum.
“These careless acts put the lives of the arresting officers in danger, as well as uncover informants and her fellow jurors.”
“I am proud to sponsor this bill which will create so many positives while helping fight our substance abuse problem in the state.”
The bill would make the crime a misdemeanor and penalties would include the juror facing a possible sentence of 30 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine, if convicted.
Marcum is the lead sponsor on the bill while Delegates Tim Miley (D-Harrison), Kevin J. Craig (D-Cabell), Cliff Moore (D-McDowell), David G. Perry (D-Fayette), Eric Nelson (R-Kanawha), Michael T. Ferro (D-Marshall), Ryan J. Ferns (D-Ohio), and Jeff Eldridge (D-Lincoln) voiced their support and are listed as co-sponsors.