What is the federal grand jury?

What is the federal grand jury?

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2022 | Federal Crimes |

If you face federal criminal charges, your case went before the federal grand jury. It is this group of people who decide whether the prosecutor can bring charges against you.

The U.S. Courts explain that a grand jury is different from a trial jury. They have completely different functions, duties and rules.

Basic function

The power of a grand jury is to look at the evidence and information a prosecutor has to determine if there is enough to make a case and pursue charges. The jury helps prevent needless prosecution and ensures the court system is not hearing cases that the state cannot win. It also helps to save money and only focus the system on cases that could get a conviction.

The grand jury does not determine guilt. Its only function is to determine if the case the prosecutor has is sufficient enough to go to court.

The grand jury will hand down an indictment in cases it believes have the ability to overcome the burden of proof.

The process

A grand jury functions similarly to a trial jury. It will hear the prosecutor’s case and see the evidence. However, the jury will not hear the defense. The defense is not present and has no part in this process.

The power

The grand jury is powerful because it will ensure prosecutors cannot pursue cases against people when there is lacking evidence. The jury also maintains civil rights for accused individuals. They will hear every case that carries a year or more in prison. In situations where the punishment is less than a year in prison, the grand jury will not hear the cases and the prosecutor can go to court according to his or her own judgment.