Grand Jury

The Grand Jury is made up of six to ten citizens selected from the county master jury list. It has broad investigatory powers and is empowered to:

  1. inquire into misdemeanors and felonies which are committed and triable in its county;
  2. investigate and inspect jails and inquire into their management; and,
  3. investigate alleged misconduct of public officials within its county.

The grand jury may call witnesses, require sworn testimony, and demand that records and other evidence be produced in addition to whatever evidence or information is provided by the state's attorney. The grand jury may call on either the state's attorney or the judge to seek advice concerning law and legal procedure.

Because grand jury proceedings are not open to public, the only person permitted to attend its sessions is a witness called to testify. Even the state's attorney and judge may not be present while the grand jury is discussing or voting on a case.

After its investigation, the grand jury can return an indictment (a statement charging that a crime has been committed) or determine that no crime has been committed. Under an indictment, the defendant is brought before a circuit judge for arraignment and trial.

Traditionally in state courts, the grand jury has been used for alleged crimes in public office and criminal events requiring a special investigation by a judicial body before charges are brought.

Information       Courthouses       Coping with Stress       SD Unified Judicial System      
Juror Questionnaire       Home