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Orange County, CA Criminal Defense Law Blog

Monday, December 15, 2014

Grand Juries in California

How Do Grand Juries Work in Orange County?

The recent controversies over the failure to indict police officers in Missouri and New York have cast a spotlight on grand juries and how they work.  California has its own unique grand jury system.

Being a member of a grand jury is a year long, full time job. Though it is supposed to be representative of the county’s residents, only those who can get by on $50 a day need apply. You need to be a U.S. citizen at least 18 years old. There is an application process, applications are reviewed, applicants interviewed and background checks are done (members cannot have any felony convictions). Nineteen people sit on a grand jury in California, plus alternates.

Grand juries have two purposes.  In the civil context, grand juries investigate and report on allegations of misconduct against public officials and local government, and decide whether or not to present formal accusations requesting their removal from office. 

In the criminal context, grand juries weigh criminal charges and determine whether indictments should be returned. In a criminal case, a prosecutor will go to a judge with evidence that an individual committed a crime. Having a grand jury look into the case is an alternate route for the prosecution. The prosecutor needs to show to the grand jury that a crime took place and there is probable cause that the accused committed the crime. 

In both the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, the police officers under investigation testified to the respective grand juries. In California, that would be highly unusual, because most of the time those under grand jury investigation are not aware they are being considered for an indictment as the proceedings are secret.

If you are in Orange County, California, and being investigated by a law enforcement agency but charges have yet to be filed, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and liberty. Call criminal defense attorney Mark Raymond McDonald at (888)686-7874 today for a free consultation.

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2015
2014
December
November
October
September
August
Rapper Arrested in Orange County, California on Gun Charges
Further Changes to California’s Three Strikes Law
July
Change in California Criminal Law Likely to Reduce Deportations
Convicted Embezzler Receives Light Sentence Over Prosecution Objections
June
Lab Error in Methamphetamine Testing
New Mental Health Law Proposed After Tragedy in Isla Vista
May
Crowd Sourcing Law Enforcement - Can It Result in Criminal Charges against Innocent Parties?
Understanding California’s Implied Consent Law
April
March
The Impact of Additional Charges On a California Murder Case
"DUI" May Be a Matter of Opinion
February
Alternative Sentencing Options in the Orange County Area
Warrantless Cell Phone Data Searches: A Violation of the Fourth Amendment?
January
California Lawmaker Seeks Ban on 'Affluenza' Defense
Challenging the Accuracy of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Test Results
2013
December
California Supreme Court Deals a Blow to DUI Defense
Guns and Weapons Charges in Orange County
November
October
Domestic Violence in California
An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney can Help you Through the Toughest Situations
September
California Lawmaker Supports U.S. Attorney General’s Stance on Drug Crime Reform
Irvine Murder Investigation Reopened
August
2012 “Crime in California” Report Just Released. What Does the Information Mean to Offenders?
Child Pornography and Child Molestation Charges and Sentencing
Nationwide Sting Highlights Law Enforcement Officials’ Focus on Sex Crimes
Motions: Paving the Way to Defense Victory
Sex Crime Charges in California: What Can You Expect Following a Conviction?
The New Three Strikes Law
Probation, Parole and Ankle Bracelets: What Does the Future of Electronic Monitoring Look Like?
July


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