Definition of a Grand Jury
The purpose of a grand jury in US law is to decide whether there is enough evidence presented by the prosecutor to file charges and proceed to trial. Typically grand juries are held in strict confidence, without a judge or lawyers present, however, evidence, exhibits, and testimony are held to strict courtroom rules of evidence before admission. Members of a grand jury may ask questions of witnesses and prosecutors to best understand the evidence being presented.
Unlike a jury trial, a grand jury does not need to have a unanimous vote, but a majority in order to indict and the grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence, they only decide if the evidence is strong enough to file an indictment and take the case to trial.
In his book, BLOODSTAINS, author Jeff Mudgett relates the account of his great-great-grandfather, the notorious serial killer H. H. Holmes (Herman Webster Mudgett), through the experience of discovering his ancestry, to investigating his every move through long hidden diaries belonging to Holmes. One chapter is devoted entirely to the possibility of Holmes being the identity of Jack the Ripper, perhaps revealing the identity of one of the most popular unsolved mysteries in criminal history.
In upcoming presentations Mudgett creates an interactive grand jury, complete with audience participation, to hear the evidence he’s collected since writing BLOODSTAINS, and letting the “jury” decide if the evidence has enough probable cause for prosecution. All evidence will be put forward within the definition of grand jury law.
Using handwriting analysis, ship records, computer composites, and other documentation, Mudgett presents the evidence needed to establish probable cause that Holmes was indeed Jack the Ripper.
Interest in the connection between Holmes and Jack the Ripper has increased since the release of BLOODSTAINS, including several books on Holmes, documentaries, and interest by “Ripperologists” around the world.
It’s recently been announced that Leonardo DiCaprio’s project to bring Erik Larsen’s Devil in the White City to film is in the final stages of becoming reality. This announcement has re-ignited the public’s fascination with the crimes of the infamous Dr. H.H. Holmes. The film will be directed by Martin Scorsese and promises to be a big budget blockbuster.
What kind of evidence has been collected to establish probable cause?
“Probable cause is a level of reasonable belief, based on facts that can be articulated, that is required to sue a person in civil court or to arrest and prosecute a person in criminal court. Before a person can be sued or arrested and prosecute, the civil plaintiff or police and prosecutor must possess enough facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the claim or charge is true.”
- Timelines of Holmes presence in London and the infamous “Ripper Gap”
- Holmes’ knowledge of investigatory and forensic techniques of the time
- Photographic comparisons
- Handwriting comparisons and analysis
- Information from Scotland Yard
Jeff Mudgett makes no legal claims to the accuracy of his theory, and welcomes professional scrutiny, but presents what he knows to the audience grand jury for them to come to their own conclusions about what he considers compelling evidence of Holmes and the Ripper to be one and the same.
As the prosecutor, Mudgett sets the scene for the case and carefully explains each point of evidence, along with the pattern of conduct established by his deep knowledge of Holmes. The audience “grand jury” decides if the evidence is enough to secure an indictment and take the case to trial.
Where does this exercise lead? Obviously, Holmes and Jack the Ripper are long gone from this earth, but justice can prevail for the many victims left behind, essentially re-writing history and correcting information based on facts and evidence, not inconsistent theory.
What audiences are saying about Jeff Mudgett’s Grand Jury Presentation:
The handwriting comparisons are incredible
It was an amazing presentation. Thank you so much for sharing with us! All the evidence you presented just seemed to all click together. There is no such thing as a coincidence.
Thank you so much for allowing me to involve your audience in this unique True Crime moment
Jeff Mudgett is available for keynotes, speaking engagements, workshops and presentations including not only the book Bloodstains and the information contained, but he also speaks to audiences about writing, publishing, and epilepsy.
His “Grand Jury” presentation has been widely received by colleges, universities, law schools, and events across the country. For details on how to bring Jeff Mudgett to your next event contact ImaginePublicity by phone 843-808-0859 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mudgett’s Evidence: Information from Scotland Yard. What information? Ship records. What records? Other documentation. What documentation? Three questions that were not answered.
Jeff! The Blog- radio podcast we did on Shattered Lives Radio from the victim’s perspective is still one of my favorites! Great to have you showcased in this manner! LJ
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Fascinating! Looking forward to reading the book. Thanks so much for sharing.
Excellent post Delilah! Jeff… Hopefully you’ll be making the rounds to law schools with your terrific idea! Be sure to videotape. Best of luck! LJ