SANDRA L. WELLS
ATTORNEY AT LAW

Grand Jury Indictment | Top Franklin Lawyer

Grand Jury. A jury, normally of twenty-three jurors, selected to examine the validity of an accusation before trial .

Powers of the Grand Jury. The grand jury has inquisitorial powers over–and has the authority to return a presentment–of all indictable or presentable offenses found to have been committed or to be triable within the county.  

Duties of the Grand Jury. It is the duty of the grand jury to: Inquire into, consider, and act on all criminal cases submitted to it by the district attorney general; Inquire into any report of a criminal offense brought to its attention by a member of the grand jury; Inquire into the condition and management of prisons and other county buildings and institutions within the county; Inquire into the condition of the county treasury; Inquire into the correctness and sufficiency of county officers’ bonds; Inquire into any state or local officers’ abuse of office; and Report the results of its actions to the court. 
 
In Tennessee, your case will go to the Grand Jury by Direct Presentment or by being bound over after the Preliminary Hearing. Direct Presentment is when the prosecutor goes directly to the Grand Jury through a "Sealed Indictment". If a General Sessions judge dismisses a case at the Jail or Bond Docket, the prosecutor may seek a Direct Presentment. The Grand Jury consists of thirteen people who hear evidence and determine if you should be formally charged with a crime. You and your lawyer do not have the right to appear before the Grand Jury and they do not determine guilt or innocence. Their job is to determine if there is good reason or “probable cause” to charge you.

If the Grand Jury determines there is probable cause, they return a True Bill, which means you
you have been “indicted” and your case will be set for Arraignment. If the Grand Jury returns a No True Bill, the case against you is over unless the District Attorney resubmits the case to a new Grand Jury and that Grand Jury indicts you. Your lawyer can get a court date sooner if you agree to bypass the grand jury by an "Information" and go directly to Criminal Court. An Information is an agreement between you and the district attorney to settle on a deal that will be entered in Criminal Court, usually within two months.


One thing that you need to be very aware of is the following:  If after a Preliminary Hearing, the Judge dismisses your case, the District Attorney may decide to Direct Present your case to the Grand Jury. If that is the case, and the Grand Jury issues a True Bill, there is a very good chance that you will be rearrested and be required to post a new bond.

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