Constitutional Frankenstein: The Grand Jury Without Checks
In April of 2018, the New Mexico Supreme Court heard State v. Martinez. In that case, the defendants sought to quash their indictment, as the grand jury had been presented with unlawfully obtained evidence. Reversing the district court, the New Mexico Supreme Court held that judicial review of the grand jury indictment was not available, as there was no evidence of prosecutorial misconduct. This Case Note analyzes Martinez and summarizes the likely implications of the holding in the case. Background information to the relevant statute is included, along with past appellate interpretations of the statute. The holding of Martinez is analyzed on its own, and through the lens of a parallel method of challenging grand jury proceedings, most recently explained in Herrera v. Sanchez. The holding of Martinez will make it more difficult to successfully challenge grand jury proceedings under the applicable statute. Parties will instead avail themselves of the “structural integrity” challenge in the future, and since there are not clear lines on what is and is not an acceptable challenge under this model, it is likely to increase the workload of district and appellate courts. This Case Note argues that the New Mexico Supreme Court should harmonize these two methods of challenging grand jury proceedings, given that the grand jury is a Constitutionally-protected body.