Sortition insured a fair jury for indictment of Texas governor

A story in the New York Times:

With Governor’s Indictment, Scrutiny of Grand Jury System

AUSTIN — The indictment of Gov. Rick Perry by a Travis County grand jury has put the spotlight on the state’s quirky system that gives judges a choice in how to seat a grand jury.

Mr. Perry’s charges for overstepping his authority as governor came from a type of grand jury that is not the norm in Austin’s criminal courts: one whose members were chosen at random.

Austin courts, like those in many of Texas’ larger cities, typically rely on a so-called “key man” selection process, where judges choose a commissioner responsible for recruiting a panel of grand jurors. The practice was not used to seat Mr. Perry’s grand jury because the judge overseeing the case comes from San Antonio, where random selection is preferred.

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