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McHenry Co. judge won't have grand jury to look into Obama citizenship
By Charles Keeshan | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 1/20/2010 12:36 PM

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A Fox River Grove-based blogger questioning the citizenship of President Barack Obama lost her bid Wednesday to have a special grand jury empaneled to investigate her claims.

McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather rejected the petition for a grand jury filed by Sharon Ann Meroni, founder of Patriot's Heart Media Network, saying there is no lawful justification for it.

"There is no legal basis for you to do what you're asking to do," Prather told Meroni in court. "The law does not allow it. There are no facts pled in your petition which would require what you're seeking."

Meroni, who initially filed the request in December alleging widespread voter fraud in Illinois, said she was disappointed in the decision and intends to appeal.

"The issue is how did we elect a president without anybody verifying he is constitutionally eligible to serve?" she asked.

Meroni, a Barrington Hills resident who goes by the alias Chalice Jackson online, said her allegations go beyond Obama to a system that, she believes, does nothing to verify citizenship of candidates and elected officials.

"I do not believe (Obama) is eligible to be president, but that's not the reason for the petition," she added.

Prather's decision came Wednesday after Meroni, on behalf of herself as well as Patriot's Heart Media Network, filed hundreds of pages of legal argument, news clips, officials documents and opinion columns she believes bolster her case.

The judge, however, refused to consider them. Assistant McHenry County State's Attorney Jeff Bora said regardless of whether someone agrees or disagrees with Meroni, the law does not allow citizens to run grand juries.

"There is no recourse for a private individual to go before a grand jury with their own agenda," Bora said.

Meroni's claims hardly are new. Over the last year numerous individuals and groups - often referred to as "birthers" - have questioned the president's citizenship, most claims hinging on Hawaii's release of a notarized copy of Obama's birth certificate instead of the original document, the release of which is barred by state law.

However, Hawaii officials have authenticated the birth certificate and confirmed Obama's citizenship, and courts across the country have thrown out such claims as unfounded and baseless.