1. What is the purpose of a grand jury? How does indictment by a grand jury differ from being charged by a prosecutor? Should the grand jury process be eliminated? Why, or why not?
2. As stated in the article I am providing a link to below, one of the criticisms of the grand jury process is that the prosecutor generally has no duty to provide any exculpatory evidence to the grand jury … so essentially, the provide only the evidence that might tend to incriminate. (However, I have heard of some situations where the prosecutors specifically do put on exculpatory evidence in order to get a “no bill” – often in police related shootings where the prosecutor will present a case to the grand jury about the police officer who does the shooting). What do you guys think about that criticism? I mean, if it is just going to be a rubber stamp for the prosecutor, why require the grand jury?
3. A grand jury is, at its heart, a larger gathering of what we understand of a normal jury. In essence, the grand jury is for bigger cases, such as felony charges. There are 23 people who sit on the grand jury, and they help the prosecutor to determine if the case should go to trial or not. The grand jury essentially stands in for the public, as the general public is not allowed into the trial proceedings during this stage. While the prosecuting attorney does not have to listen to the suggestions of the grand jury, they usually do. A grand jury is a good thing to have, just as a jury is a good thing to have, during trial proceedings as this helps more witnesses to the case understand what is going on and to determine the best course of action. Class, in what other ways might a grand jury be beneficial to court proceedings?
4. What is discovery? To what extent is discovery helpful or a hindrance? Provide examples. (Be sure to limit your discussion to discovery in criminal matters.)
5. A grand jury consist of individuals who will decide to bring charges (criminal) or indictment against a defendant. An indictment is formal charges against a defendant. No, the grand jury process should not be eliminated, why because it plays an important role. I have seen firsthand a grand jury worked. In the town that live in the local Newspaper will publish a list of people who has been indicted by a grand jury, they will list the name and charges. Class, I know this information is public record but do you think that a newspaper should release this information ?