Grand jury. What
is a grand jury? According to the American Bar Association (no liquor, but lots
of drunk lawyers) "the primary function of the modern grand jury is to
review the evidence presented by the prosecutor and determine whether there
is probable cause to return an indictment." Basically, the grand jury was
designed as a safeguard against tyrannical prosecutors, preventing them from
prosecuting in their own interests and not the people’s.
Unfortunately, the grand jury hears only cases brought to it by the prosecutor.
And in the case of the murder of a hip-hop legend, one man, David Roger, has
decided that the people don’t deserve to take a look.
I had the pleasure
of speaking with Mr. Roger, the District Attorney of Clark County, Nevada, and
absorbing some good ‘ole fashioned prejudicial gibberish. As you will read for
yourself, selective prosecution was alive and well in this great land of ours
long before 9/11. The man who decides which Vegas hookers go to jail and which
get sent back to Hollywood seems a little apathetic about the Tupac Shakur murder
case. He just doesn’t seem interested.
Well, all public
officials need to be encouraged once in awhile, prodded into actions deemed
necessary by the people they’re sworn to serve. So if you feel the need to encourage
Mr. Roger to have a grand jury convened to investigate the murder of Tupac Shakur,
give him a call at (702) 455-4711 or send him an encouraging message at: firstname.lastname@example.org
and remind Mr. Roger that he can’t ignore this case any longer. 7 years is long
Did the Las Vegas Metro Police submit a report to your office with recommendations
as to what charges should be filed in the Tupac Shakur murder case?
David Roger: Not
that I’m aware of. I’m the present District Attorney, I took office January
6th, and so anything that happened in a prior administration would not be within
my knowledge. But I don’t think they submitted a case to us.
then wasn’t a grand jury convened in this case to see if there was enough evidence
to prosecute Orlando Anderson or anyone else for the murder of Tupac Shakur?
David Roger: We
use the grand jury primarily to present cases that we intend to seek indictments.
The procedure is that the detectives present us with their reports when they
believe that they have sufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable
doubt. We review the case and if we agree with their statement that there is
sufficient evidence, then we either file charges in Justice Court or we proceed
to a grand jury and we present the case to them. And it’s my understanding that
they did not present a case to us. There was no evidence to present to a grand
jury. There are times when detectives will ask us to assist in the investigation
and subpoena witnesses to testify before the grand jury in its capacity as an
investigative division, but to my knowledge that did not occur.
you’ve been in the District Attorney’s office have you ever had a grand jury
convened in a case where no suspect was clearly identified by the police?
David Roger: No
you ever prosecuted a murder case where there was no witness to the crime?
David Roger: No
witness to the crime?
Allhiphop: No witness
to the murder itself. Have you ever prosecuted a murder case where there was
no witness to the murder?
David Roger: If
you’re asking me whether I have personally prosecuted a case where there are
no eyewitnesses to the murder but instead strong circumstantial evidence which
would suggest beyond a reasonable doubt that a person committed the crime, the
answer is yes. If you’re asking me the broad question of whether I’ve prosecuted
a case where there are no witnesses period, the answer is no. As prosecutors
we have an ethical obligation to proceed only with those cases where we have
an abiding conviction in the truth of the matter, and that we know that we can
prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. When you have a case with no witnesses
period, it’s obvious that you can’t prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt
and therefore there’s no attempt to prosecute the case.
you ever been successful in a case like that, where there was no witness to
the murder, have you ever obtained a conviction in such a case?
David Roger: I
guess you need to clarify what you mean by no witness.
you have circumstantial evidence, but you have no person, no witness to the
actual murder itself that will get up in a court and testify.
David Roger: You
mean no eyewitness?
Allhiphop: No eyewitness.
David Roger: I
have prosecuted many circumstantial evidence cases.
you been relatively successful?
David Roger: Yes
you personally ever review the initial police report or any case file on Tupac
David Roger: No.
anyone else to your knowledge within the DA’s office review this case?
David Roger: Not
to my knowledge.
your office choose to prosecute in a case without a specific recommendation
from a police department?
David Roger: It’s
rare that we get involved in investigations that are initiated by our office.
We rely on law enforcement to present complete, trial ready cases to us for
prosecution. We file approximately 22,000 felony cases each year and we don’t
have the manpower to have our own investigative branch of the District Attorney’s
Allhiphop: So basically
a majority of the time it is based on police recommendation?
David Roger: Correct.
Allhiphop: As I
understand it you were Deputy District Attorney at the time of the Tupac Shakur
David Roger: Yes.
you involved in any investigative element of that case via your position at
David Roger: No.
Allhiphop: Do you
believe that anyone will ever stand trial for the murder of Tupac Shakur?
David Roger: I’m
not familiar with the extent of the police department’s investigation so I can’t
answer that question.
with these pieces we’re trying to gather as much information that maybe you
haven’t seen, and I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind if once I’ve compiled
all of this if I could forward it to you?
David Roger: It
might be more appropriate for you to forward it to the homicide detectives.
actually going to see it as well, but I was wondering if that’s against any
policy if I forward it to you?
David Roger: No,
that wouldn’t be a problem, but I’m sure that there’s going to be a follow-up,
"well, now that you’ve seen this, there’s sufficient evidence to proceed
with the case," and I’m not going to give you an answer.