grand jury

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Related to Grand juror: petit juror

grand jury,

in law, body of persons selected to inquire into crimes committed within a certain jurisdiction. It usually comprises a greater number than the trial, or petit (also, petty) jury, having since early common lawcommon law,
system of law that prevails in England and in countries colonized by England. The name is derived from the medieval theory that the law administered by the king's courts represented the common custom of the realm, as opposed to the custom of local jurisdiction that
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 days had between 12 and 23 members. In the United States, federal grand juries have between 16 and 23 jurors. The grand jury receives complaints and accusations in criminal cases, hears evidence adduced by the state, and approves an indictmentindictment
, in criminal law, formal written accusation naming specific persons and crimes. Persons suspected of crime may be rendered liable to trial by indictment, by presentment, or by information.
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 when satisfied that there is enough evidence against the accused to warrant a trial. It was not until the 17th cent. that the grand jury acquired its modern functions as a check on the discretion of prosecutors and a way of preventing unjustified and politically motivated prosecutions. Grand juries have investigative functions as well, and are sometimes impaneled to issue reports on, e.g., suspected official wrongdoing.

The rules governing grand jury proceedings are very different from those governing trials by (petit) jury. The public is not admitted to hearings, and witnesses can be compelled to testify. The procedure is inquisitorial rather than adversarial: the defense is not allowed to call witnesses, and the prosecutor is not obliged to present both sides of the case. Hearsay and other evidenceevidence,
in law, material submitted to a judge or a judicial body to resolve disputed questions of fact. The rules discussed in this article were developed in England for use in jury trials.
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 that might be excluded at a jury trial may be introduced.

The use of grand juries has declined in the 20th cent., in part because they were perceived as prone to either prosecutorial domination or abuse of their investigatory role. Britain abandoned them in the 1930s, and today fewer than half of U.S. states employ them. The information, a written statement issued by a prosecutor, has largely replaced the indictment. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, however, guarantees a grand jury inquiry to anyone accused in federal court of a capital "or otherwise infamous" (i.e., a felony) crime.

grand jury

Law (esp in the US and, now rarely, in Canada) a jury of between 12 and 23 persons summoned to inquire into accusations of crime and ascertain whether the evidence is adequate to found an indictment. Abolished in Britain in 1948
References in periodicals archive ?
Only a few years after Advice to Grand Jurors appeared, the Tory
In short, as a practical matter, prosecutors control what evidence the grand jurors hear, especially if it is an unremarkable case, which receives little or no media coverage.
Because a prosecutor would therefore have a duty in such cases to immediately seek the dismissal of any indictment a grand jury might return, (16) it is unfair for the prosecutor to waste the time of citizen grand jurors by asking them to consider whether to indict.
An elected public official is not eligible to be a grand juror.
132) Where before grand jurors dealt with assaults, homicides, and robberies, in which they had at least a rudimentary understanding of the crime, they now had crimes involving mail fraud, false claims, and the Mann Act that were not normally seen in everyday community life or familiar to the average grand juror.
19) After the Constitution's ratification, grand jurors continued to take initiative in making presentments.
The grand juror said the parents could have been indicted, but it seemed as if there was not enough evidence to convict anyone with the crime.
Then if a witness's testimony before the grand jury is called into question, a former grand juror must be hauled back into court to read the notes, often resulting in a delay in the proceedings and an inexact account of what actually was said under oath.
In many cases, the close scrutiny of grand jury, and the discipline of grand jurors following their oath, results in charging more offenses.
Paxton's attorneys say the reply does not address their actual argument of improper grand juror qualification and that Paxton's right to due process under the 14th Amendment to the U.