The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

December 7, 2013

Grand jury invoked

Common law group eyes government reform

MERCER — Whatever their political beliefs, a local judge and the district attorney say, the group’s efforts will have no legal authority to investigate anything and could prove to be dangerous to others and themselves.

Dr. James G. Allen helped to organize the meeting in Mercer that drew about 40 people to the community room at Brandy Springs Park.

Many of them said beforehand they didn’t know anything about the New York-based website that supplied the two videos they watched before 36 people voted by a show of hands – two by absentee ballot – to empanel a local common law grand jury. Sixteen people signed up to serve.

Allen said a common law grand jury has the authority, for example, to investigate “corrupt public officials as individuals,” especially any “not adhering to their oaths of office.”

Its findings would be formally turned over to the district attorney for trial in court.

The authority for such a grand jury that “serves as a buffer between the people and the government” derives, Allen said, “from the people directly and through the founding documents, the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights and  the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

He clarified that he was referring to the “original” 1776 state constitution, not the constitution last amended for the fifth time in 1968.

Before the meeting, three  local women, Mary Mattocks, Mercer, Carol Bollard, Stoneboro, and Elizabeth Lane, Jackson Center, said they had not heard of National Liberty Alliance or John Darash. He supplied and narrated “Take Back the Republic,” one of the videos the gathering watched.

“We’re here to learn,” Mattocks said.

So was John Garvin, a Slippery Rock area contractor who came with a friend after seeing a shopper advertisement for the meeting.

Allen, an anesthesiologist who lives in Grove City, said he didn’t know anything about Darash’s background but he agrees with its advocacy for local grand juries based on what he has learned from the website since last summer.

Other online groups with similar interests have set up websites to promote the formation of investigating juries.

According to meetup.com, an online reviewer of websites, National Liberty Alliance, Hyde Park, N.Y., was founded in 2011 by Darash, Carl Shuer and Gerard Aprea and recently listed 432 members.

It lists no biographical information about the founders.

NLA’s emblem is a U.S. flag shown upside down as a sign of distress. The website says its goal is to have a common law grand jury in all 3,141 counties in the United States.

Groups in several other western Pennsylvania counties have held meetings, and organizers in Butler and Westmoreland counties said they have filed documents with their clerks of courts to convene.

Allen said he didn’t know how soon the local group will be ready to file the results of the vote and names of interested jurors.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • News briefs from April 24, 2014

    April 24, 2014

  • Bus cameras will be listening, too

    Hermitage School District is taking advantage of a recently enacted exemption to the state’s wiretap law in allowing officials to turn on the audio recording capability on school bus and vehicle video cameras.

    April 24, 2014

  • Union, city OK 4-year contract

    Hermitage’s nonuniformed employees have a new four-year contract that gives them average pay hikes of 2.5 percent a year and the opportunity to live outside the city limits, while allowing administrators more flexibility in scheduling.

    April 24, 2014

  • 2 principals to be hired

    Sharpsville Area school directors needed a shove to make a decision but the board voted Tuesday to interview candidates and hire two principals for 2014-15.

    April 24, 2014

  • Prison term upheld for sex offender

    A sex offender challenging a 4- to 8-year prison sentence for a probation violation lost an appeal of that sentence.

    April 23, 2014

  • Man, 24, must register as sex offender for life

    The Ohio man who exposed himself to Sharon girls on their way to school last fall must register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life when he gets out of jail.

    April 23, 2014

  • Man deemed predator – for now

    A former Sharon man was sent to the state prison system Tuesday for corrupting the morals of a teenage girl, but the question of whether his penalties under Megan’s Law will stand could be subject to future legal proceedings.

    April 23, 2014

  • Not even waste will be wasted

    Tom Darby admits he wishes the startup of the anaerobic digestion process at the Hermitage Water Pollution Control Plant had moved along much faster.

    April 23, 2014

  • 3rd Earth Fest draws families to Penn State

    Penn State Shenango’s Earth Fest has become a spring tradition for area residents.
    Families poured into downtown Sharon for the campus’ third annual sustainability celebration.

    April 22, 2014

  • Amish clean Shenango River Volunteers protect Shenango River

    Shenango River Watchers has spent more than a decade working to clean up the Shenango and improve recreational access to its water and banks.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • For many, recycling’s become way of life

    When Pennsylvania mandated curbside recycling for its larger municipalities in 1998 – those with more than 5,000 people – there was grumbling about government interference in the lives of everyday people.

    April 22, 2014

  • Many items can’t be thrown away

    The computer screen in front of you isn’t likely to do you much harm, at least not until it’s tossed in a landfill where the lead-filled components start to leak and eventually find their way into your drinking water, according to Jerry Zona, director of the Lawrence-Mercer County Recycling/Solid Waste department.

    April 22, 2014

  • David Sykes' solar panels Earthworks

    While touring Germany last year, David Sykes spotted solar panels resting in a residential back yard.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Burned using Icy Hot, woman claims

    A Grove City woman has sued Chattem Inc. and Rite Aid of Pennsylvania Inc., alleging she suffered a second-degree chemical burn using one of Chattem’s Icy Hot pain relief products.

    April 21, 2014

  • Family outing Family friendly

    “We’re No. 5’’ isn’t a sports cheer you’ll hear any time soon.
    But considering the lumps the greater area has gotten over the years on economic rankings, it’s an outright victory.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo