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What type of cases are brought to the Grand Jury?

Normally, felony cases are presented to a court of lesser jurisdiction and the judge determines if there is sufficient evidence to hold a trial. However, under certain circumstances the District Attorney may ask the Criminal Grand Jury to hear special felony cases. The Criminal Grand Jury may hear cases involving prominent public figures in order to prevent prejudicial pretrial publicity, to protect against publicity based on unfounded charges, as well as cases where victims and witnesses need to be protected. The Criminal Grand Jury rarely hears misdemeanor cases.

Additionally, during criminal investigations the District Attorney's Office may request the assistance of the Criminal Grand Jury to subpoena needed documents or records and to question reluctant witnesses under oath. This may be true of a witness who has refused to cooperate with law enforcement investigators because he does not want to get involved, or because he is fearful of giving information except under the secret conditions of the Criminal Grand Jury hearing. A Court Reporter is present at all hearings of the Criminal Grand Jury.

Further, some witnesses agree to testify before a Criminal Grand Jury as a neutral and fair-minded body of fellow citizens not employed by law enforcement.

If an indictment is not returned, all records are kept secret and there is no publicity. Criminal Grand Jurors are forbidden to discuss their deliberations or votes with anyone outside their chambers. It is a misdemeanor for a Criminal Grand Juror to disclose any information they received in the Criminal Grand Jury chambers, until such time as the transcript of those proceedings is made public. If an indictment is returned, it is kept secret until after the suspect is arrested.

More Jury Q&A Topics
Jury Basics
If you received a jury summons
If you need to correct or recover your juror information
If you are a sworn juror
If you need Internet access
If you are assigned to a case
Question while on Jury Duty - For Employees
If you are an employer
Jurors Fees
Exemptions, Postponements, & Transfers
Special Accommodations
Civil Grand Jury
Criminal Grand Jury
Art Showcased in
Los Angeles Courthouse Jury Rooms
"Essentials" by Rachel Perez
2013 – 3rd Place Amateur

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