::Grand jury


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{{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}} A grand jury is a legal body that is empowered to conduct official proceedings to investigate potential criminal conduct and to determine whether criminal charges should be brought. A grand jury may compel the production of documents and may compel the sworn testimony of witnesses to appear before it. A grand jury is separate from the courts, which do not preside over its functioning.<ref>112 S.Ct. 1735 504 U.S. 36 118 L.Ed.2d 352 UNITED STATES, Petitioner v. John H. WILLIAMS, Jr. No. 90-1972. Argued Jan. 22, 1992. Decided May 4, 1992</ref>

The United States and Liberia are the only countries that retain grand juries,<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref><ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> although some other common law jurisdictions formerly employed them, and most other jurisdictions employ some other type of preliminary hearing. Grand juries perform both accusatory and investigatory functions. The investigatory functions of the grand jury include obtaining and reviewing documents and other evidence and hearing the sworn testimony of witnesses that appear before it. The grand jury's accusatory function is to determine whether or not there is probable cause to believe that one or more persons committed a certain offence within the venue of the district court.

A grand jury in the United States is usually composed of 16 to 23 citizens, though in Virginia it is composed of lesser numbers for regular or special grand juries. In Ireland, they also functioned as local government authorities. In Japan the Law of July 12, 1948 created the Kensatsu Shinsakai (Prosecutorial Review Commission, or PRC, system), much like a grand jury. A grand jury is so named because traditionally it has a greater number of jurors than a trial jury, called a petty jury (from the French word petit meaning "small").<ref name="Harris 1896">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref>

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