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What is the Purpose of the Grand Jury?

A Grand Jury is a democratic institution used to determine if someone has committed a crime. The Grand Jury is composed of randomly selected citizens who represent the local community where the incident took place. Hearings will vary in length depending on how much evidence is presented but the process is secretive so no one involved may discuss what goes on inside the courtroom. https://youtube.com/watch?v=V7kISfKhhvE


The grand jury represents the American ideal of the people controlling every branch of government. The people, in a sense, control the legislative branch of government by using their voice to elect their duly elected representatives. The people control the executive branch of government in a sense by casting their votes for who shall serve as president of the United States. And that person then selects a cabinet and thousands of officials to execute the mandate that he or she has been given by the American people. And the people control the judicial branch by their service. On grand juries and petit juries by their ability to say at the beginning of the case what a crime is and whether it's been committed and by their ability to say at the end of the case, if a particular defendant has indeed committed a crime as proven by the government beyond a reasonable doubt. The grand jury grew out of our English, Anglo-American tradition. But the way in which grand juries are used today is a uniquely American process. For example, anyone who is a citizen of the United States has a right to serve on a grand jury. And grand jurors are summoned typically by using voter registration roles once summoned for duty. As long as a person indicates that he or she can be fair, he may be selected to serve on a grand jury. He may sit for months at a time on a particular grand jury, hearing dozens if not hundreds of case presentations by prosecutors on everything from drug enforcement issues to capital murder. A grand juror has no say over the types of cases presented to him or her, but the process is entirely secretive. And in fact, the federal rules penalize by criminal sanctions anyone who leaks information about the grand jury process, whether that person is a juror, an attorney, or an agent. All along this process, the grand jury may weigh evidence using various legal standards that increase as the probability of conviction and sentence approach. But every step of the way the people have a voice in helping to control the judicial branch. Ultimately, a guilty verdict represents the community's judgment. On whether a defendant is guilty of a particular crime.

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