Basically, a grand jury is a type of jury that determines whether there is enough evidence for a trial. A grand jury performs this duty by analyzing the evidence and witness testimony presented to them by a prosecutor.
Hence, the grand jury which normally consists of 16 to 23 people is supposed to be a check on the prosecutorial system. Therefore the grand jury service is one of the most important responsibilities in the administration of justice in a community.
Thus, in a criminal case, the main challenge before the grand jury is to fairly determine whether the crime has been committed and whether there is adequate evidence against the accused person to bring the case in to trial. It simply means prosecutors can not accuse people for committing crime with the little evidence exists.
Hence, proper functioning grand jury automatically guarantee the safeguard of an individual from false prosecutions and its reliability would support to protect the public from actual crime and criminal.
Generally, a grand jury has two main questions to find a direct answer, when a matter is presented to the grand jury.
It must decide,
-Has a crime been committed?
-Was the crime probably committed by the person who has been accused?
When a crime has been committed, it will come to the grand jury in two ways.
First, the police arrest an individual for committing a criminal act and then produce him in front of the district court for preliminary hearing. At the preliminary hearing, the district judge usually determines whether the crime charge is felony and whether there is adequate evidence to believe that the accused person committed the crime?
Then, if the district judge determines that the crime to be a felony charge, he generally put up the case to the grand jury since the felony charges must first be presented to the grand jury and by statute, district court cannot convict people for felony charges. Vast number of cases arrives before the grand jury in this manner.
The other way of cases receive to grand jury is by direct presentation of the prosecutor. These kinds of presentation are known as direct submission.
Let us see how the grand jury operates its function?
When the prosecutor presented the evidence and the witness to the grand jury, it is the duty of the jury to carefully evaluate the evidence and the witness testimony in order to determine whether there is sufficient evidence against the accused to bring the case to trial.
Having heard all evidence presented, grand jury usually deliberate in a private room and makes their decision. However, it is not required a unanimous approval of the grand jury to issue indictment against the accused person. At least 9 members of the grand jury must concur in order to issue an indictment. All that is needed is majority rule. If less than 9 members agree, the case will be dismissed.
Mere suspicion of guilt is not enough to issue an indictment and what the grand jury always must consider is whether the accused is guilty of that crime.