What is the purpose of a grand jury?

United States district courts are the trial courts for both criminal and civil federal cases. They use 2 types of juries in criminal cases. A grand jury is one, which usually includes 16 to 23 people, hears charges against a person suspected of having committed a crime.

The Grand Jury is one of the three checks and balances in a criminal case, these are in order of occurrence in the process - grand jury, the judge, the appeals court. The first step in most high crimes is the indictment. An indictment is the American people declaring that there is reasonable suspicion to believe that the person being accused could have had means, motive, and opportunity to have committed the alleged crime and need to stand trial. However, during the grand jury phase you will only hear from the prosecutors. The information they want to be allowed or are prohibited to give you has already been determined without your presence.

If the grand jury returns a true bill, the accused will stand trial for the alleged crime. This means the prosecutor successfully proved to the people that with the facts at hand were sufficient to believe that the person could have committed the crime.

On the other hand they could return a no ture bill, which declares that the prosecutor did not meet enough facts or did not give a compelling enough argument to make the American people believe the accused committed the crime.