State Grand Jury Law and Legal Definition

Like the federal system, the states also use grand juries. A grand jury assembled by a state court system is called a state grand jury. State grand juries are responsible for deciding whether there is probable cause for indicting an individual or a group of individuals. Some states use grand juries only to investigate criminal cases, whereas, others use them both to investigate civil and/or criminal matters.

State grand juries differ from trial juries. Grand juries listen to testimony and decide whether or not a person should be charged for a crime or offense. Whereas, trial juries decide whether or not an individual is guilty of a crime. A grand jury may also review evidence as part of investigating whether or not a crime has been committed and determining whom should be charged with that crime.

In the U.S, every state court system may use grand juries, though some may not convene them regularly. The size of a state grand jury differs from state to state. The size depends on the state appointing the grand jury. For example, one state may convene grand juries that include 12 jurors while another state may require 16 jurors. Some specify a range, such as between 12 and 18 jurors, while others may allow for a couple of different jury sizes, such as 15 or 17.

Usually, a state grand jury does not meet on a daily basis. Some state grand juries meet on a weekly basis, whereas, there are others who meet only once in a month. On the other hand, trial juries meet each day until it has rendered its verdict. The term of a state grand jury depends on the state in question.