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Los Angeles Grand Jury Investigation Attorneys

What Is a Grand Jury?

A grand jury is a group of people who hear evidence and determine whether enough evidence exists to bring criminal charges against an individual.

Grand juries are made up of 23–25 citizens from the community where the case is being heard, and they meet regularly in a courtroom. The grand jury usually meets for one week at a time, although they may meet longer if necessary.

The grand jury hears evidence presented by prosecutors and occasionally defense attorneys. They also hear testimony from witnesses and are shown other evidence that may be presented by both sides. After hearing all the arguments and viewing the evidence, the grand jury decides whether enough evidence exists to return an indictment against an individual.

If you have been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. This is a very serious matter and should not be taken lightly. You should seek the advice of an experienced Los Angeles criminal attorney at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP who will help you navigate this difficult process.

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How a California Grand Jury Works

The function of a grand jury is to investigate crimes that have been reported to it by law enforcement agencies. The members of this group may question witnesses and victims, review the evidence and other information, and decide whether sufficient evidence exists to charge someone with committing a crime. If they decide enough evidence exists, they will issue a no bill (or no true bill) against the person being investigated for his or her alleged involvement in criminal activity; if they decide that enough evidence exists for the prosecution, they will issue an indictment against him or her.

Grand juries are frequently constituted to sit for a length of time rather than for a specific case. This is in contrast to the juries in criminal or civil cases, which serve just for that particular trial. Grand juries might thus hear a number of indictment cases at this time.

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How a Federal Grand Jury Works

A federal grand jury is a group of 16 to 23 citizens who are selected by the court to hear evidence presented by the prosecution and decide whether enough evidence exists to charge someone with a crime. Federal grand juries are required to have members who fairly represent the community in which the case will be heard. They are therefore chosen at random from federal jury lists, which is the same process for selecting California grand juries.

Only the following individuals are permitted to attend the proceeding: the jury members themselves, government lawyers (federal prosecutors), any witnesses being cross-examined, any interpreters required, and court reporters.

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Evidence Rules and the Defendant’s Rights in a Grand Jury Proceeding

In a typical trial, the district attorney provides the jury with evidence to persuade them that the criminal suspect committed the crime at hand. This proof could consist of sworn statements from witnesses, written materials, tangible items or other evidence, and transcripts of depositions.

With one significant exception, California grand juries must abide by the same evidence rules as California criminal trials.

The one exception is that, in an indictment case, the hearsay rule does not apply to a law enforcement officer's sworn evidence about a statement another person made outside of court if the officer either possesses five years of experience working in law enforcement or has successfully completed a course on investigating, reporting, and testifying at preliminary hearings.

The jury has no requirement to hear any defense witness testimony. However, they have the authority to require the production of any evidence they have reason to believe tends to indicate the defendant is innocent.

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Have the Los Angeles Defense Lawyers at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP on Your Side

If you are in a grand jury case, it is important to know that you have Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP on your side. Our attorneys have extensive experience with grand jury cases and can help you navigate this difficult process. We make sure that your rights are protected at every turn and we fight to protect your reputation. Call us today at (213) 688-0460.

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Additional Information

Contact Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP Today
Phone: (213) 688-0460
Fax: (213) 624-1942

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