Wall Street Prison Consultants

Introduction to Federal Grand Juries

A grand jury is a group of citizens who are summoned to serve as a panel to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that a person or organization has committed a crime. 

Federal grand juries are responsible for investigating and indicting individuals who are suspected of committing federal crimes. The grand jury system is an important part of the American justice system, as it ensures that citizens have a voice in determining who is charged with federal crimes.

How Federal Grand Juries Work

Federal grand juries are composed of 16 to 23 individuals who are selected at random from a pool of eligible citizens.
These individuals are typically summoned for service for a period of 18 months, during which they may be called upon to serve on multiple grand juries.

The grand jury’s proceedings are conducted in secret, and the individuals who are called to serve on the grand jury are required to maintain confidentiality about the proceedings.

The grand jury is responsible for determining whether there is probable cause to believe that a person or organization has committed a federal crime.
This determination is made through the presentation of evidence by federal prosecutors.
The prosecutors present evidence to the grand jury in the form of witness testimony, physical evidence, and other documents or materials that may be relevant to the case.

The grand jury has the authority to issue subpoenas for witnesses or evidence, and they may also question witnesses who are called to testify.
However, unlike in a trial, the grand jury does not hear from the defense or make a determination about guilt or innocence.
Instead, they decide whether there is enough evidence to indict the defendant and bring them to trial.

Controversies of Federal Grand Juries

Despite the important role that federal grand juries play in the American justice system, there have been criticisms and controversies surrounding their use.
One of the main criticisms is that grand juries are often used as a tool by prosecutors to secure indictments, rather than as a neutral fact-finding body.

Critics argue that prosecutors have too much power over the proceedings, and that they are often able to influence the grand jury’s decision through the evidence that they present.

Another criticism of federal grand juries is that they are often used to target marginalized communities, particularly communities of color.
Research has shown that Black and Latino individuals are more likely to be indicted by grand juries than their white counterparts.
This has led to accusations that the grand jury system is racially biased, and that it perpetuates systemic inequalities in the justice system.

Finally, there have been concerns about the secrecy of grand jury proceedings.
While secrecy is necessary to protect the privacy of witnesses and to prevent potential tampering with the proceedings, it can also lead to a lack of transparency and accountability.

Critics argue that the secrecy of grand jury proceedings can allow prosecutors to present biased evidence without challenge or scrutiny, which can result in wrongful indictments and convictions.


Federal grand juries play an important role in the American justice system by ensuring that citizens have a voice in determining who is charged with federal crimes.
However, the use of grand juries has been controversial, with concerns raised about their impartiality, their use as a tool by prosecutors, and their potential for perpetuating systemic inequalities.

As the justice system continues to evolve, it is important to carefully consider the role of grand juries and to ensure that they are used in a fair and impartial manner.

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