Grand Jury

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  • A jury that examines evidence presented against a person accused of committing a crime and, if the evidence warrants, makes formal charges on which the accused person is later tried. The grand jury was created to prevent arbitrary prosecution by the state. Grand juries were incorporated into the U.S. criminal justice system with the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. Today, approximately half of all states use them, generally depending on the type of crime. A grand jury has the power to act as an independent investigatory body that can compel witnesses to testify, and it can serve as a check on the prosecution (the state) to determine if there is probable cause for prosecution (the charging decision). If the grand jury finds probable cause, it ...

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