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'Checking' on the Sheriff-Coroner

May 19, 1985

The recent decision of the Orange County Board of Supervisors not to separate the coroner and sheriff duties was a disappointment--although an improvement.

My concern had to do with the grand jury investigation providing the necessary "checks and balances."

During my tenure (1983-84) grand jurors attending coroner's hearings were instructed not to ask any questions during the hearing. Questions could be posed only after the hearing and then to a designated person.

The criminal justice committee spent a great deal of time reviewing the information provided, including medical information. Few grand jurors have backgrounds to evaluate medical information.

It is my opinion that the perpetuation of the belief that the grand jury provides adequate "checks and balances" is erroneous.

Thank you for your editorial position on this issue.

RUTH I. HARMON, RN

Santa Ana

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