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Texas' unusual grand jury system gets new scrutiny

Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) - Grand juries in Texas are chosen like no other place in the country.

Rather than picking from a pool of randomly selected residents to hear criminal cases, judge-appointed commissioners nominate prospective jurors under a system the U.S. Supreme Court has called "susceptible of abuse."

Texas is now under pressure to change its system amid criticism that its grand juries often include biased members connected to the criminal justice system.

The Texas Legislature is considering bills that would end the so-called key-man system and allow only people selected randomly to serve on grand juries.

Supporters say the change would help end the perception of an unfair grand jury process, while others warn change would make it more difficult to find grand jurors who have enough time to serve.

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