Unless waived by the accused, every felony case must be indicted by a grand
jury. A prosecutor presents the evidence in the cases. If the grand jury
finds probable cause, an indictment is returned. If probable cause is
found lacking, the case is no-billed and dismissed.
Historically, the grand jury’s role was to be a buffer between the
accused and improper criminal prosecutions. It was envisioned that a grand
jury would consist of ordinary citizens who would make an independent
analysis of the evidence. Sadly, this has turned out to rarely be the case.
A grand jury’s decision is limited to the information that is provided
by the presenter, in this case the prosecutor. If the prosecutor believes
the case should be indicted he can certainly present the case in a way
which is likely to get that result. Further, each empaneled grand jury
hears hundreds of cases during their term and time does not permit thorough
investigation and analysis.
The accused does not have a right to testify before the grand jury, but
many prosecutors welcome the testimony. There is no right to counsel in
the grand jury room. The accused must be placed under oath and the prosecutor
can examine him about any topic he deems relevant. You can see why we
at the firm are loath to allow such an examination. Our clients hire us
for protection and there is very little we can do to protect them in the
grand jury room.
There are rare instances where the prosecution agrees that a particular
case requires more that the usual grand jury attention. Often that is
because of a sense by the prosecutor that the case is not a strong one,
and continued prosecution is not in the best interest of justice. In such
a case, we may consider allowing our client to testify. We might even
provide the prosecutor information from our file. But let us reiterate
that this is rare. Grand jury proceedings have become a rubber stamp procedure
as of late and we don't see a change in policy coming in the near future.
Contact a Denton County Criminal Defense Attorney from our firm as soon as possible if you have been arrested or are under investigation