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Federal.grand.jury

Federal.grand.jury

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Published by: iSpit on Dec 21, 2011
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03/09/2014

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You can find more information about how grand juries--bothstate and federal--conduct themselves in the FAQ section of thiswebsite. Also, if you'd like to read about how Federal Grand Juriesoperate, try these two handbooks:
Handbook for Federal Grand Jurors
Handbook for Federal Grand Jury Forepersons
Federal prosecutors
 
 –
 
this site provides access to every U.S. Attorney’s Office in the country. U.S.
Attorneys are federal prosecutors; one is appointed for every federal judicial district in every state.
The site gives you the information you need to contact a U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Federal courts
 
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links to federal district courts and to the federal circuit courts of appeals (thedistrict courts are the trial courts, the circuit courts are the intermediate appellate courts and theSupreme Court is the ultimate appellate court), http://www.uscourts.gov/allinks.html#all 
Introduction
 Because of the Fifth Amendment, the federal legal system has to use grand juries to bringcharges, at least for certain offenses. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires thatcharges for all capital and "infamous" crimes be brought by an indictment returned by a grandury. The amendment has been interpreted to require that an indictment be used to charge federalfelonies, unless a defendant waives his or her right to be indicted by a grand jury. The SupremeCourt has held that this part of the Fifth Amendment is not binding on the states, so they can usegrand juries or not, as they wish.(If a defendant waives his or her right to be indicted by a grand jury, the prosecutor cancharge them by using an "information." An information is simply a pleading that accuses thedefendants of committing crimes, just as an indictment does. The difference between anindictment and an information is that a grand jury must approve an indictment, while a prosecutorcan issue an information without the grand jury's approval or, for that matter, without evershowing the information to the grand jury.)Since most federal prosecutions involve felony charges, grand juries play an important role inenforcing federal criminal law. The sections below describe the essential aspects of federal granduries.
Size of the grand jury
 
 
Federal grand juries are composed of between 16 and 23 individuals. Sixteen is the minimumand 23 is the maximum number that can constitute a federal grand jury. The size of the federalgrand jury is set by Rule 6(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
Quorum of jurors needed to conduct business
 The quorum is the minimum number of jurors that need to be present for a grand jury to beable to conduct business, such as considering whether charges should be brought against someoneor investigating criminal activity. No statute or court rule defines the quorum for federal granduries, but federal courts have inferred that at least 16 jurors must be present for a grand jury toconvene and conduct business. The number 16 comes from Rule 6(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which says that a federal grand jury must consists of between 16 and 23urors. If less than 16 jurors appear, the grand jury cannot convene.
Alternate and replacement grand jurors
 Under Rule 6(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, a federal court can, but doesnot have to, choose alternate grand jurors when it impanels a federal grand jury. If a judge haschosen one or more alternates, they replace jurors who are excused (usually for illness or otherconditions constituting a hardship). If a court has not chosen alternates, it can replace excusedgrand jurors by simply choosing other individuals to serve.
Grand jury officers
 Under Rule 6 of the Federal Rules of CriminalProcedure, a federal court must appoint both aforeperson and a deputy foreperson when itimpanels a grand jury. The foreperson or, in herabsence, the deputy foreperson administers oaths towitnesses who testify before the grand jury andpresides over the grand jury's sessions, ensuring thata quorum is present and handling otheradministrative matters. In this photograph of a grandury in session, you can see the foreperson at the farright.The deputy foreperson is thewoman at the far left (in the greenblouse) in this picture.

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