Grand Jury



Agrand jury’s function is determining whether a prosecutor hasadequate evidence to indict a given suspect. The jury is composed of16 to 23 neutral citizens that are rigorously vetted to ensure theycan make a genuine decision without favoring either the suspect orthe prosecutor (Doyle, 2010).

Theprosecutor presents evidence and testimonies to the grand jurymembers so that they can evaluate whether it warrants indictment of asuspect. Grand juries protect defendants through encouraging suspectsto give evidence without fear of retribution. Besides, the jury keepsthe evidence provided confidential if they fail to find a probablecause to indict a criminal. The hearings are conducted privatelythus, the evidence a prosecutor table does not reach the public untila trial proceeds to the indictment stage (Harr et al., 2012). Instates such as the District of Columbia, grand juries can conduct anindependent investigation to determine whether a suspect conducted agiven crime or the evidence provided is true before they give averdict. The verdict is attained through confidential voting. In casea witness refuses to testify, the grand jury may compel a suspectinto providing the evidence.

Grandjuries offer special services to the state governments such asinvestigating whether organized crime is occurring in thejurisdictions they operate. For example, a jury may investigatewhether the state government is involved in organized crime such ascorruption or illicit drug trade. In states such as Tennessee,Oklahoma, and New York, the grand juries investigate employees andcounty officers suspected of engaging in illicit affairs. In otherregions such as Texas and Kansas and Kentucky, the grand juries areentrusted with monitoring and ensuring that the elections are freeand fair. In case a candidate engages in unethical election and theorganizations may indict the culprits (Harr et al., 2012).

Finally,states such as Alabama give the grand jury special responsibilitysuch as investigating whether all the individuals receiving pensionfrom the county pension are eligible. In states such as California,grand juries investigate some non-profit organizations and observeland transfers (Doyle, 2010).


Harr,J. S., Hess, M. H., &amp Orthmann, C. H. (2012). Constitutionallaw and the criminal justice system (5th ed.).Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Doyle,C. (2010). Federal.DIANE Publishing.