What does "Dismissed Due To Grand Jury Indictment" mean on a 1 count of felony 4 charge mean. No priors. This is in AZ. What is the next step? Does this mean that the charge was dropped and/or dismissed?
Here in Maricopa County, Arizona, the state files felony charges against people with a "Direct Complaint." Then, they schedule a status conference and a preliminary hearing. At the status conference, they offer the defendant a plea agreement. If the defendant chooses to reject the plea agreement, then the state pretends that it will allow the person to have his/her preliminary hearing a few days later. Preliminary Hearings are a bit cumbersome for the state, due to the fact that the defendant and his/her attorney have the right to be present and to confront and cross-examine the state's witnesses at the Preliminary Hearing.
To solve the problem, the state uses this strategy against the people: On the day of the preliminary hearing, the defendant finds that his/her case has been "vacated" which means cancelled. In the meantime, the state is having a secret proceeding behind closed doors, where only the police, prosecutor, judge, and "grand jurors" are allowed. The defendant and his/her attorney are not invited or even told about the secret proceeding.
During the secret proceeding, the police and prosecutor tell the Grand Jury that the defendant committed the crime. A few minutes later, the Grand Jury signs the charges and calls the document "a true bill." The charges now have "probable cause" and they become an Indictment.
Next, the Maricopa County Court web site shows all of the origiinal charges from the Direct Complaint "dismissed due to grand jury indictment," with all of the exact same charges below it, not dismissed. Those are the charges that the Grand Jury found "probable cause" for (during the secret proceeding).
The next thing that happens is an arraignment, sometimes called a "not guilty arraignment" in Maricopa County. That usually happens a few days later, on the third floor of the shiny new "south court tower" over on 175 W. Madison Ave. Inscribed on the front of the building is the phrase: "THE FIRST DUTY OF SOCIETY IS JUSTICE." There, the person is given a sheet of paper with some information on it and a copy of the indictment (which, strangely, always seems to have the EXACT SAME charges as the Direct Complaint that was filed and dismissed... coincidence?).
At the arraignment, the defendant is given a court date called an "Initial Pre-Trial Conference" which occurs approximately 45 days later.
These secret proceedings behind closed doors, called Grand Jury "presentations" are not discussed in the Civics and Political Science classes most of us took in school because these are the types of things people tend to associate with places like Communist China or Iran. People here in the USA find these matters a bit surprising, given the fact that we have all been told that this is a democracy with an open and trustworthy government.
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I agree with Mr. Knost's response. This means that the case has been reviewed by a grand jury. The direct complaint was dismissed and a true bill of indictment (formal charge) has been issued. You now have an active criminal case. Do not hesitate to contact for further review.
The Feldman Law Firm, PLLC
1 E. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004