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What is a Grand Jury?

What is a Grand Jury?

A Grand Jury consists of 12-16 people who have been summoned to meet two days a week for four months. They hear cases presented by the County Attorney’s Office or the Attorney General’s office to determine whether or not there is probable cause to return an indictment (which determines from evidence presented by a prosecutor that a crime was committed). The prosecutor usually only calls one witness, the arresting officer, to testify before the Grand Jury. The officer will explain to the Grand Jury why the person being investigated should be charged with a crime. Grand Jurors are allowed to ask the officer relevant questions to determine whether or not there is probable cause to charge the person under investigation.

An attorney can contact the prosecutor, prior to the Grand Jury convening, requesting that certain evidence be presented to the Grand Jury and to inform them that the person under investigation would like the opportunity to appear and provide testimony. The Grand Jury is not required to hear evidence or testimony from the accused, but may do so. If the Grand Jury decides they want to hear from the accused, that person is entitled to have an attorney present while they are testifying so long as the attorney does not communicate with anyone other than their client.

Once all of the testimony and evidence has been presented, the Grand Jury deliberates to determine if probable cause to believe the person under investigation has committed a crime. A Grand Jury requires a concurrence of at least 9 jurors to issue an indictment. The indictment will list the charges against a person as well as the date the crime was committed and is signed by the juror foreperson, who will endorse it as a “true bill” and the prosecutor.

A Notice of Supervening Indictment will then be served either by a process server or more commonly via certified mail to the person under investigation. This Notice will also contain a Not Guilty Arraignment date, which is usually held in the morning on a Tuesday, Thursday or Friday at the South Court Tower, located in downtown Phoenix. If you do not appear for this hearing, a warrant for your arrest may be issued.

If you or a loved one has been charged with any criminal offense or is facing a Grand Jury Indictment, contact our office at 480.889.8909 for your free consultation.


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