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White collar crimes may face North Carolina grand juries

A piece of legislation currently in front of the North Carolina Senate could change the way that white collar crimes are investigated. If this is passed, prosecutors would now have the ability to investigate white collar crimes by convening a grand jury. Public corruption cases would also fall under this proposal.

The intention behind this proposal is to discourage and decrease white collar crimes and public corruption cases. It would increase the penalties given for crimes such as embezzlement, obstruction of justice, bribery, forgery and extortion. Two North Carolina senators drafted the bill in an attempt to reduce such crimes in our state.

The goal of this legislation is to give prosecutors the ability to convene grand juries while investigating white collar crimes in an attempt to increase prosecution of these crimes. These particular types of cases tend to include an excessive amount of paperwork and documentation. The senators behind this bill claim that the grand jury process would give prosecutors a venue in which to call witnesses and gather evidence. There is no word when this bill will be brought to vote.

If this legislation is passed, it may add a new challenge for those charged with white collar crimes. The prosecution will have already had a chance to present their case in front of the grand jury in a "dry run" of sorts. This could potentially put the accused at a disadvantage which makes it all the more important for an individual accused of such crimes to conduct a careful examination of all evidence in order to mount an appropriate defense.

Source: wral.com, "Grand juries could go after white-collar criminals under re-drafted bill," Mark Binker, May 14, 2013

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