Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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How Grand Juries Decide Indictments

The grand jury's role in the process of indicting a criminal is one of utmost importance. It is not a procedure that finds the criminal suspect guilty or lays punishment on anyone. Instead, the prosecutor works with the grand jury to discover whether or not serious felony charges or an indictment should be brought on an individual. The prosecution lawyer, Sacramento grand jurors, and the legal system are active participants in the process.

Members of the grand jury might be summoned for jury duty for long periods of time, but they only need to make a court appearance for several days during the procedure. The grand jury usually consists of up to 12 individuals, but it can include up to 23 individuals in a federal case. Under the typical rules of the court, evidence, testimony, and exhibits must adhere to strict guidelines before they are admitted. However, the grand jury members have the power to request and hear almost any evidence related to the case.

The grand jury listens to the evidence presented by the prosecutor of the case. When a grand jury discovers evidence that shows probable cause, it will seek to proceed for an indictment on the suspect. The process includes a majority grand juror vote for the indictment in what is termed as "returning a true bill." If the majority doesn't rule, a vote will be made among the grand jurors not to return the indictment. However, this decision is not final.

To bring the case to trial in a criminal case, the grand jury doesn't need to help the prosecution lawyer. Sacramento attorneys will be the ones to outline all charges by presenting extensive evidence, documentation, testimonies, and more.

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