The Role Of A Grand Jury

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Anyone can be selected to be on a grand jury. The role of that jury is to decide if their is sufficient evidence for felony charges to be prosecuted on a citizen.

"It's not a final determination or even a fair determination of whether the person who is indicted has committed the offense. It's just simply the evidence the prosecutor presents to determine if there is enough proof to go forward with an indictment." said Attorney Charles "Buzz" English Jr.

Often times grand juries are associated with Hollywood movies, where the men and women of the jury sit in a jury box and decide the fate of a defendant. When in fact most of the work done by a grand jury is done behind closed doors, floors below. A trial jury or Petit jury is the one that hears the case once the then defendant is officially indicted.

"That jury is determining whether someone goes to the penitentiary. The grand jury determines if someone is charged." said Warren Circuit Judge Steve Wilson.

If an arrest is made in the case, then the grand jury only has 60 days to make a decision on a case. If there is no arrest in the case, then it's a different story.

"If they're not arrested and there's justification for not making the arrest, then the grand jury can take their time because we don't have a statute of limitations in Kentucky." commented Judge Wilson.

Whatever you're opinion may be, the grand jury system is part of Kentucky and you may be called to serve one day.

"My experience is they get it right. They get it right. I'm glad we still have that system of a grand jury." added Judge Wilson.

Grand juries are comprised of 12 members and the evidence is presented to them by the commonwealth attorney. Only nine of those 12 members have to vote "yes" for a person to be indicted on a felony charge.

Click on the link below for the legal definition of what a grand jury's role is.

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