What is a grand jury?

A grand jury is a group of no more than 23 people who are responsible for hearing witness testimony and examining evidence about suspected criminal offenses before a trial can occur. The grand jury can also carry out independent investigations.

Based on the information presented, the grand jury must decide whether there is sufficient evidence to indict the defendant for the crime. Grand jury proceedings are private and not open to the public. The prosecutor serves as a legal advisor to the grand jury and oversees the presentation of evidence and witnesses.

Unlike a trial jury, the grand jury does not decide a defendant’s guilt. It is tasked with determining whether there is probable cause to believe the defendant committed the crimes of which they have been accused.

The case proceeds to the trial stage if the grand jury votes an indictment. If the grand jury finds there is no reasonable cause to believe the defendant committed the crime, it dismisses the case.

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