Lets get the facts straight, the recent Harris County Texas grand jury “charges” against Center for Medical Progress (CMP) David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt isn’t even legal.
New reports appear to ignore the legal reality that only a District Attorney can bring charges against alleged law breakers. Grand juries cannot. Prosecutors present charges, then present them to grand juries for a decision.
Keep in mind that the grand jury convened to investigate Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast (PPGC). Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) requested a criminal investigation into PPGC in August 2015, after CMP video series evidenced Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale and harvesting of body parts from aborted babies. The Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson (R) agreed to undertake an investigation in the Houston area, and convened a grand jury.
Instead news reports state that the grand jury “brought charges” against Daleiden and Merritt.
These charges clearly did not result from a grand jury’s deliberations or investigation of PPGC. Presumably there was an investigation of Planned Parenthood (the grand jury brought no charges against the organization), but the charges brought are based on an investigation of CMP and the two video investigators named in the indictment.
When did an investigation of PPGC become an investigation of CMP?
Daleiden and Merritt are now indicted, as follows:
Daleiden was indicted for “prohibition of the purchase and sale of human organs.” He and Merritt were both indicted for “tampering with a governmental record.”
The “tampering” is apparently related to making fake IDs for the undercover video work.
We must await further information to be sure what happened here.
However — pro-life activists pointed out immediately after the Harris County DA agreed to open an investigation last August that one of his staff attorneys is Lauren Reeder. Reeder is a high-profile Planned Parenthood supporter who sits on the PPGC board and donated to the organization since 2009.
The pro-life group Operation Rescue expressed concern at the time that Anderson’s office had already failed to indict a Houston-area abortion provider whose practices were similar to those of Dr. Kermit Gosnell. According to Operation Rescue President Troy Newman:
Anderson oversaw a previous abortion-related grand jury investigation of Houston abortionistDouglas Karpen after Operation Rescue released evidence in the form of photos and witness testimony that abortions babies were being born alive during abortions and intentionally killed by twisting their necks. This case garnered publicity in the wake of the conviction of Pennsylvania abortionist Kermit Gosnell on three counts of First Degree Murder for intentionally killing babies born alive during abortions in a similar fashion.
Newman said that grand jury failed to return a “true bill” that would have led to Karpen’s prosecution. Operation Rescue has reason to believe that the grand jury did not have access to all the evidence, and that Anderson’s close personal relationship with Karpen’s attorney, Chip Lewis, may have contributed to the failure of the grand jury to indict Karpen.
There may be other questions, as this case progresses. Although the tampering charge sounds like it might be reasonable, there may be a question whether Harris County has the standing to bring it in the case at hand.
Why was this case heard in Harris County, a suburb of Houston, Texas?
And are the charges not in the District Attorney’s name? DA Anderson is the one responsible for bringing charges against Daleiden and Merritt, not a grand jury.
And how is the public served by prosecuting CMP, which quite obviously was never involved in actually buying or selling baby parts?
If it’s a triumph of justice for the public welfare, to bring charges against the video-makers, why doesn’t Anderson get out there, clarify that she made it happen, and also clarify that selling baby body parts is not a crime she will prosecute?
J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. She writes for Liberty Unyielding and her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.