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Last updated 1:38AM ET
February 26, 2021
Judge Dismisses Dozens of Indictments
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - A Blount County judge threw out about 70 indictments this week because grand jury witnesses had been sworn in by a bailiff instead of the district attorney or the jury foreman.

District Attorney Tommy Rountree said he will appeal Circuit Judge Steven King's decision to quash indictments from the April grand jury.

The indictments can be brought again, but Blount County Sheriff Danny Morton said deputies may not be able to find some individuals. He said he had been aware of the use of a bailiff for some time and had had questions about the procedure.

A circuit clerk said the judge's ruling so far hasn't resulted in anyone being released from jail.

Rountree said it was his understanding that bailiffs could swear in witnesses for grand jury testimony and that it was done in other jurisdictions.

In Calhoun, Shelby and St. Clair, witnesses are sworn in by the district attorney. In Jefferson County, it is the jury foreman, who can delegate it to the district attorney.

Chris Bence, a spokesman for Attorney General Troy King's office, said Rountree contacted the office Wednesday.

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