A 19-year-old member of the Howard County Grand Jury was arrested Wednesday after he allegedly photographed an undercover police officer testifying during the proceedings, according to a State's Attorney spokesman.
Julian Warren Hudson, of the 4900 block of Webbed Foot Way in Ellicott City, was escorted from the grand jury meeting room, located within the Howard County State's Attorney's offices in Ellicott City, and charged with violating the grand jury secrecy law and reckless endangerment, both misdemeanors.
According to the charging documents, Hudson had been serving on the grand jury for four months and knew the officer was on an undercover assignment.
Following the officer's testimony, he reported that Hudson was taking photos of him on his cellphone. When approached, Hudson admitted he had taken photos and sent them to his girlfriend.
Maryland law requires all grand jury proceedings be kept secret. Each grand juror takes an oath not to disclose any proceedings heard before the grand jury. The grand jury, which meets bi-weekly, hands down indictments based on evidence presented by the State's Attorney's office.
If convicted, Hudson could face a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and one year in jail for the grand jury secrecy violation, and maximum penalty of five years in prison and $500 charge for the reckless endangerment charge.
Hudson was released and scheduled for trial in Howard County District Court on Nov. 26.
Howard County State’s Attorney Dario J. Broccolino called the arrest unprecedented.
“The secrecy of grand jury proceedings is a cornerstone of the American judicial system,” said Broccolino in a statement. “Additionally, the identification of an experienced undercover officer has been exposed and his future effectiveness severely compromised."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun