A grand jury is a group of citizens appointed by the court to investigate whether crimes have occurred. They meet in secret and hear evidence presented by witnesses called by the prosecutor. The grand jury has subpoena power and may force witnesses to appear in front of them to give testimony. No judge is present at the grand jury sessions. After hearing the evidence, the grand jury deliberates in secret and decides whether probable cause exists to believe a particular person committed a crime. If they find probable cause, the charge the defendant by issuing a document called an indictment. In Colorado, the vote of the grand jury to indict does not need to be unanimous. Only nine of the twelve grand jurors must agree that probable cause was established.
If you are the target of a grand jury investigation, you should contact a criminal defense attorney to help you navigate these treacherous waters. Your freedom and your reputation may be at stake. The defense lawyer won’t be allowed to make arguments on your behalf to the grand jury, or present evidence on your behalf, but by meeting with the prosecutors and presenting evidence favorable to you to the authorities, your lawyer may be able to prevent you from being indicted. If you are subpoenaed to testify in front of a Colorado grand jury, your lawyer would be allowed to be in the room with you to counsel you, although your lawyer would not be allowed to make objections, arguments or address the grand jury.
The nice thing for a defendant about the secrecy of the grand jury process is that if you do not get indicted, the investigation should remain closed to the public and your good reputation may be kept in tact. A grand jury session is a crucial step in the criminal process, particularly in the federal system.
Jim Anest was involved in the first ever Grand Jury proceeding in Converse County, Wyoming in 1981 investigating the suspicious fire of a landmark building in Douglas, Wyoming.
If you are the target of a grand jury investigation, or have received a grand jury subpoena, feel free to contact Parker Lawyers for a consultation. (303) 841-9525.