Q&A: Grand juries


Daily Reporter (Greenfield):

Q: A grand jury convened last week and delivered indictments for two Hancock County parents – one count of neglect resulting in death each. We know grand jury proceedings are sealed, but the prosecutor has told us the original police report was never introduced into evidence and therefore should be a public record.

Our local police folks, and even the judge, say that grand juries are so rare around here that no one knows what should be public and what is not. Police for now have denied us the report. Can you provide some guidance? 

A: Grand jury proceedings are secret, but the indictment would be a record that should be available for inspection and copying.

The original police report, regardless of the fact it became the subject of a grand jury, would be an investigatory record, which the police have the discretion to make available to the public or keep secret.

What you do have the right to get from the police is the “daily log or record” created 24 hours after the request for assistance came to them concerning the case, if the police were called.

That’s created under the Access to Public Records Act at IC 5-14-3-5(c). The provision outlines what needs to be included in the daily log when an incident has been reported.

So armed with the code citation, I’d ask the police for the daily log report on the incident that would have been created the day the police were called, or no later than the next day.

They probably don’t create a separate “daily log” but take the original police report and redact it to protect certain items that aren’t required under the Access to Public Records Act. That should be OK with you because you still get some details from the daily log, even if it is a redacted police report.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.