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What to Expect in a Grand Jury Indictment Investigation

March 21, 2024

What to Expect in a Grand Jury Indictment Investigation

Understanding the Grand Jury Process

If you or someone you know is facing a potential grand jury indictment, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about what lies ahead. At Spodek Law Group, we understand the stress and anxiety that comes with being the subject of a criminal investigation. Our experienced attorneys are here to guide you through the process and protect your rights every step of the way.So, what exactly is a grand jury and what does it do? A grand jury is a group of citizens, typically 16-23 individuals, who are tasked with examining evidence presented by prosecutors to determine if there is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed and if criminal charges should be brought against a suspect.It’s important to note that the grand jury process is very different from a trial. There is no judge present, and the defendant and their attorney are not allowed in the room during grand jury proceedings. The prosecutor is the only lawyer present and will present evidence, call witnesses, and explain the law to the jurors.Unlike a trial jury, the grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence. Their sole purpose is to decide whether there is enough evidence to charge someone with a crime and proceed to trial. If the grand jury finds probable cause, they will issue a formal accusation called an indictment. If not, they will vote a “no bill” and the case will not move forward.One of the most important things to understand about the grand jury process is that it is conducted in secret. This means that all proceedings, including witness testimony and evidence presented, are confidential. Even if an indictment is not issued, the details of the investigation are not made public.While the secrecy of grand jury proceedings is meant to protect the integrity of the investigation and the privacy of those involved, it can also be frustrating for suspects who may not know the full scope of the allegations against them. This is where having an experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial.At Spodek Law Group, our attorneys have extensive experience handling grand jury investigations. We can work with prosecutors to gather information about the case, challenge the admissibility of evidence, and advocate for our clients’ rights at every stage of the process.

What Happens During a Grand Jury Investigation?

Now that you have a basic understanding of what a grand jury is and what it does, let’s take a closer look at what actually happens during a grand jury investigation.The first step in the process is the selection of grand jurors. Grand jurors are chosen from the same pool of citizens as trial jurors, but they serve for a longer period of time, typically several months. During their term, they may hear evidence on multiple cases.Once the grand jury is selected, the prosecutor will begin presenting evidence. This can include physical evidence, documents, and witness testimony. The prosecutor will also explain the applicable laws and legal concepts to the jurors.Witnesses called to testify before the grand jury are sworn in and must answer questions truthfully. However, they are not allowed to have an attorney present in the room with them during questioning. If a witness refuses to answer questions or provide evidence, they can be held in contempt of court.It’s important to note that the rules of evidence are more relaxed in grand jury proceedings than in a trial. Hearsay evidence, which is typically not admissible in court, can be presented to the grand jury. Additionally, the prosecutor is not required to present exculpatory evidence (evidence that could exonerate the suspect).After all the evidence has been presented, the grand jury will deliberate in private and vote on whether to issue an indictment. In federal cases, at least 12 jurors must agree to indict in order for charges to be brought. In some states, the number may be different.If the grand jury votes to indict, the prosecutor will prepare a formal charging document called an indictment. The indictment will list the specific charges against the defendant and will be filed with the court. The defendant will then be arrested (if not already in custody) and arraigned on the charges.If the grand jury votes not to indict (a “no bill”), the case will not move forward. However, it’s important to note that a “no bill” does not necessarily mean the case is over. Prosecutors can present the case to a new grand jury if they believe there is sufficient evidence to support charges.Throughout the grand jury process, our attorneys at Spodek Law Group will work tirelessly to protect our clients’ rights and interests. We will conduct our own investigation, challenge the admissibility of evidence, and advocate for our clients at every stage of the proceedings.

Protecting Your Rights During a Grand Jury Investigation

If you are the subject of a grand jury investigation, it’s essential to understand your rights and take steps to protect them. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

  1. You have the right to remain silent. If you are called to testify before the grand jury, you have the right to invoke your Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. This means you cannot be forced to answer questions that could incriminate you. However, if you choose to testify, anything you say can be used against you in court.
  2. You have the right to an attorney. While you are not entitled to have an attorney present with you in the grand jury room, you have the right to consult with an attorney outside the presence of the grand jury. Your attorney can advise you on whether to testify and can help you prepare for questioning.
  3. You have the right to know the nature of the investigation. While grand jury proceedings are secret, you have the right to know the general nature of the investigation and the potential charges against you. Your attorney can work with prosecutors to gather this information and keep you informed throughout the process.
  4. You have the right to challenge the evidence. If you are indicted, your attorney can file motions to suppress evidence that was obtained illegally or challenge the sufficiency of the evidence presented to the grand jury.

At Spodek Law Group, we are committed to protecting our clients’ rights and ensuring they receive the highest quality legal representation. Our attorneys have the knowledge, skills, and experience to navigate the complex grand jury process and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

Grand Jury vs. Trial Jury
Determines probable cause to charge a crime
Proceedings are secret
Defendant and their attorney are not present
Hearsay evidence is admissible
Prosecutor is not required to present exculpatory evidence

If you or a loved one is facing a grand jury investigation, don’t wait to seek legal help. Contact Spodek Law Group today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys. We are here to guide you through this challenging time and fight for your rights every step of the way.

Conclusion

Facing a grand jury investigation can be a daunting and stressful experience, but remember that you are not alone. With the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney, you can navigate the process and protect your rights.At Spodek Law Group, we have a deep understanding of the grand jury process and a track record of success in defending our clients against criminal charges. We will work tirelessly to investigate the allegations against you, challenge the evidence, and advocate for the best possible outcome in your case.If you have been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury or believe you may be the subject of an investigation, don’t hesitate to contact us. The sooner you involve an attorney, the better we can protect your rights and interests.

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Todd Spodek

Founding Partner

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RALPH P. FRANCHO, JR

Associate

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JEREMY FEIGENBAUM

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ELIZABETH GARVEY

Associate

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CLAIRE BANKS

Associate

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RAJESH BARUA

Of-Counsel

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CHAD LEWIN

Of-Counsel

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