Kansas prosecutor says no to a rape charge, so a college student calls her own grand jury
May 20, 2021
Madison Smith will be just a few months out of college when her story is heard this fall by a most unusual Kansas grand jury - one she convened.
For three years, the local prosecutor has resolutely refused to make her case: that what began as consensual sex in a college dorm room became a rape, and that she was unable to say "stop" because her classmate was strangling her.
But Smith invoked a vestige of frontier justice that allows citizens in Kansas to summon a grand jury when they think prosecutors are neglecting to bring charges in a crime. The law, dating to the 1800s, was originally used to go after saloonkeepers when authorities ignored violations of statewide prohibition. The 22-year-old graduate is believed to be the first to convene a citizen grand jury after a prosecutor declined to pursue a sex-crime charge.