U.S. Grand Jury Reform
U.S. Grand Jury Standards
The following are the standards that a grand jury system must satisfy to comply with the original understanding of that term used in the U.S. Constitution:
- Selected at random from the general public, with perhaps some filtering, but without "stacking".
- Selection by a neutral party (not the judge or prosecutor).
- Size of 23.
- Decision by 12.
- Election of foreperson by the members.
- Term of service long enough to learn how to do it.
- Limits on terms of service to avoid entrenchment.
- Adequate training of grand jurors.
- Prevention of undue influence by interested parties, especially judge or prosecutors.
- Secrecy of grand jury deliberations, while they are going on, but with allowance of disclosures in their presentments.
- Enough time to examine each case, or enough grand juries.
- No impediment to access by public to members to present complaints or give testimony, except for reasonable scheduling.
- Acceptance of any person, not just a professional prosecutor, being appointed to prosecute a case by the grand jury granting him an indictment.
- Acceptance that a grand jury indictment removes official immunity from criminal prosecution.
- Acceptance that a grand jury finding of sufficient evidence of misconduct removes official immunity from civil prosecution.
- Establishment of rule that a grand jury must determine whether a court has jurisdiction before returning an indictment for that court.
- Avoidance of excessive or abusive use of grand jury to harass, intimidate, discredit, or injure persons.
- Prevention of misuse during trials of evidence obtained by grand jury.
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