Why can't the defense give evidence to a grand jury?

Asked almost 4 years ago - Watkinsville, GA

Why can't the defense be present when the DA gives the evidence to the grand jury? If a judge wants a grand jury to make the decision on weather there is enough evidence to go to trial, will all the evidence he herd go to the grand jury? If there were testimonies given before him, and he decides to send it to the grand jury, Do they receive the trnscripts from that hearing? Thank you for all of the information. This web site really helps.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Howard J. Weintraub

    Pro

    Contributor Level 9

    Answered . In answering your question I am assuming that the defendant had a preliminary hearing and the judge found probable cause and bound the case over to superior court. When the district attorney presents your case to the grand jury be advised that it is not the role of the grand jury to determine whether the defendant is innocent or guilty, as that is the function of the trial jury. Rather, the role of the grand jury is to decide whether the State has presented probable cause for bringing the charges, that is, whether there is an adequaqte basis for the charges and the defendant's involvement in the alleged misconduct. Except in cases involving public officials and peace officers a defendant does not have any right to offer any evidence to the grand jury or to be present when the grand jury hears testimony. As to whether the grand jury will hear evidence from the preliminary hearing depends upon whether the prosecutor decides to make such known to the grand jury. The failure of the prosecutor to present exculpatory evidence to the grand jury or to call witnesses who would have testified favorably to the defendant normally will not result in any relief for the defendant. That is, although the prosecutor has a constitutional obligation to disclose exculpatory evidence to a defendant for his use at trial, this duty in the trial context does not generally apply to the grand jury. Nonetheless, if it can be shown that exculpatory evidence was not presented to the grand jury (a burden that is very difficult to satisfy), an attorney may decide to file appropriate motions or a plea in abatement with the trial judge after the returning of the indictment.

  2. Alan James Brinkmeier

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . In general, there simply is no "defendant" in a grand jury proceeding. And, a mere suspect need not be represented by counsel in our system.

    I know it sounds confusing, but, ours is the absolute best system of criminal justice anywhere in the world.

    A prosecutor manages the work of the grand jury. Some say that is contradictory since the job of prosecutor is to prove a criminal's guilt. Also a defense attorney does not represent the suspect during the process. Some say that should not be. Our founding fathers had that debate way back before the Bill of Rights was passed in the early days of our country.

    Our constitution requires that if the defendant chooses, he'll have an attorney represent a defendant in a trial. But, that sixth amendment protection does not extend to "suspects" and during a grand jury, that is all there is, a suspect.

    I hope this helps. Click thumbs up below for me if you think it does.
    God bless and Good Luck.

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.

 

Ask now

25,997 answers this week

2,769 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

25,997 answers this week

2,769 attorneys answering