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What is a grand jury?

On Behalf of | May 29, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

The right to a jury trial is an important part of the legal system. But not all juries hear cases and make decisions on guilt.

A grand jury is a special jury that hears evidence in criminal cases to determine if the prosecutor has a valid case. The prosecutor goes through the grand jury to bring criminal charges against an individual.

Who is on a grand jury?

The people serving on a grand jury come from the same pool that determines other juries. They are typically registered voters who live within the county or jurisdiction of the criminal court.

What does a grand jury do?

The main job of a grand jury is to check the work of a prosecutor by determining if he or she has enough evidence to likely win a criminal case. If the prosecutor cannot show a solid case, the grand jury may deny the request to indict an individual.

It is important to understand the grand jury does not decide guilt or innocence. For this reason, only the prosecution presents evidence in front of it.

Grand juries also may help with investigations into offenses. This usually happens in the course of deciding another case when the members feel someone else should face charges. The prosecutor or judge may also request an investigation by the jury.

A grand jury may not hear cases and determine the final outcomes, but they play an important role within the system. The grand jury helps to prevent frivolous prosecution that is costly to taxpayers.