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What does it mean if a public defender files a motion for appropriate relief to transcribe grand jury testimony?

Baltimore, MD |

This is for a Maryland 1st Degree Murder case that has not yet gone to trial

Attorney Answers 1

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The question seems to answer itself. The PD is requesting that the testimony which was given before the grand jury be transcribed and provided to the defense. The grand jury proceedings are secret, and access to the testimony of witnesses who appear before it is not possible without a court order. The grand jury is what determines whether there is probable cause to bring charges against an accused. The prosecutor presents witnesses who have knowledge of the crime and the defendant's involvement in it. Those witnesses testify under oath. Based upon their testimony, the grand jury decides whether to return an indictment against the defendant accusing him/her of a crime. The indictment is not evidence or proof that the defendant committed a crime; it is simply the formal process for starting a criminal case against an accused. A good defense attorney will always want the grand jury testimony of the witnesses who testified, because those witnesses will likely be the witnesses called at the trial to prove the defendant guilty. The testimony will show not only what the witness said (and will likely say at trial), but it will provide the defense attorney with the ability to cross-examine and impeach the witnesses if their testimony at trial is different than their testimony before the grand jury. In Maryland, it is common for the grand jury testimony to be ordered provided to defense counsel, but often not until the trial when the witness actually testifies. The trial judge determines when the grand jury testimony will be provided.

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