Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artists: Javier Pina and Robin Riggs
What was once supposed to be the final issue for the series is now merely the end to an arc. An arc that I previously touched on, but which eventually proved to be rather light on the legal maneuverings. Much like the trial of Dr. Psycho, come to think of it. The courtroom aspects are introduced in one issue, moved to the background and even off-panel for the next few issues, and then finally resolved.
When last we tangled with Wonder Woman's grand jury, Diana had chosen to submit to the U.S. authorities, and the case against her was being presented to a federal grand jury. Despite the law governing grand juries, this particular grand jury took place in a courtroom with a judge, and the accused and her lawyer were present (although the unusualness of the latter was noted by the characters).
Here in #30, the grand jury has reached its decision. We meet up with Kate as she loiters in the hallway of the courthouse, wishing that she'd been allowed to argue before the grand jury, and thinking to herself that she would have torn the feds' case apart. As I addressed before, this much is right, in its own way. Defense counsel isn't allowed in the grand jury room; it's the prosecutor, and only the prosecutor, who gets to present the evidence.
Finally the doors beside which Kate was waiting open, and out strolls the prosecutor, with the press begging for comment on the grand jury's decision not to indict. From all appearances, although Kate was excluded from the room (after having sat through the rest of the proceedings), it seems that the media was allowed to sit in. That's not only not right, it's internally inconsistent. Grand jury proceedings are secret. If they're not going to allow the accused or his counsel to be present, they sure aren't going to allow reporters and cameras.
And the media's presence is even more galling later in the issue, when we see a television news network broadcast video footage of the grand jury deliberations. During deliberations, not even the prosecutor is allowed to be present; only the grand jury members are permitted. To not only film the deliberations, but then to broadcast them on national television, that's 31 flavors of wrong. Grand jurors aren't even allowed to talk about the proceedings after the decision is made, because of the rules of secrecy involved. Allowing Kate in was bad enough, but it's hard to imagine a bigger breach of that secrecy than to film and broadcast the grand jurors' deliberations. Live radio broadcast or streaming video might be the only possible worse move.
So what's next for Manhunter
? The series got its third chance at life, but it doesn't appear in July's or August's solicitations. Is September the next time we'll see a new issue on the stands?
And if Marc's out there, my offer still stands to help out on any legal issues that are planned for future issues.