What Are Grand Jury Reports?

G. Wiesen

Grand jury reports are documents issued by grand juries that indicate its findings and a recommendation for future action with regard to those findings. The exact nature of such reports, and the legal requirements of what is to be contained within them, can vary among different areas, though certain aspects of such reports are fairly standard. Reports typically include two minimum requirements: findings and recommendation. Grand jury reports often form the basis for future legal action, such as bringing a case to trial or further investigation into a particular situation.

In the United States, a jury panel may be assembled as either a grand jury or a petit jury.
In the United States, a jury panel may be assembled as either a grand jury or a petit jury.

A grand jury is a collection of citizens brought together to hear the details of a legal case, and then issue a report based on those details. Grand jury reports can be many pages in length, and most courts utilize a standard form that can be used by the grand jury with adequate space for additional notes or instructions. While the findings given in grand jury reports are not necessarily legally enforceable or binding, they are often considered to be of great importance. The judge involved in a case can then use the findings of a grand jury to call for further action, such as setting a date to begin a trial.

Evidence suggests that grand jury proceedings tend to almost always follow the recommendations of the prosecutors.
Evidence suggests that grand jury proceedings tend to almost always follow the recommendations of the prosecutors.

Grand jury reports usually consist of at least two basic elements — findings and recommendations — though other information can be provided and these elements can be elaborated on at great length. The findings reported by a grand jury are the particular details revealed in the grand jury hearing and how those details pertain to the case. If jurors believe a witness was lying or being purposefully deceptive in answering questions, for example, then such information can be included in the findings of grand jury reports. These findings are also likely to contain an overview of evidence presented and an outline of the case against a person.

In addition to the findings in a report, grand jury reports typically contain at least one recommendation for action. The recommendation of a grand jury does not necessarily have to be followed, though it does serve as the basis for future action. In the US, for example, a felony case cannot go to trial until a grand jury has listened to the details of a case and found adequate evidence to recommend going forward and calling for an official trial. Grand jury reports may include multiple recommendations, such as additional charges that should be considered.

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