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The grand jury can play a critical role in the criminal process. The jury is different from a criminal jury because it does not determine if a person is guilty of a crime. Instead, a prosecutor works with a grand jury to determine whether to bring criminal charges or an indictment against a potential defendant. This usually is reserved for serious felonies.
Under both Texas and federal law, a grand jury of regular citizens is the only body that can issue a felony criminal indictment. If the government is preparing to accuse you or your associates of a felony crime, the steps you take during the grand jury proceedings are extremely important. It is one of the first steps in the criminal process, but it is important you are prepared.
If you believe you are the target of a grand jury investigation, or you have been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury, you should retain legal counsel right away. Your actions could have a serious effect on your future. Contact a criminal defense attorney at Goldstein, Goldstein & Hilley.
The lawyers at Goldstein, Goldstein & Hilley have extensive experience advising Texas and federal grand jury witnesses, subjects and targets. They can fight for your rights and make sure you have the opportunity to explore all of your legal options.
The attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein & Hilley represent clients throughout San Antonio and the surrounding areas. Contact Goldstein, Goldstein & Hilley for a free initial phone consultation to learn how we can help you. Call 210-226-1463 today.
Receiving a grand jury subpoena puts you in a very delicate position. You, your associates or your company may be the target of a criminal investigation, and evidence gathered during grand jury proceedings may motivate prosecutors to widen an investigation or name more targets.
If you wish to avoid testifying in a grand jury investigation, we can help you understand your rights and protect you against contempt charges. We are experienced in seeking interlocutory relief from the courts. If you are willing to testify, we will represent you before the grand jury and protect your rights, including your rights against self-incrimination.
In many federal cases, particularly for economic and white collar crimes, federal agents often will seek to obtain documents from targets of the investigations and innocent third parties. The federal agents can seek to obtain those documents through a search warrant or a subpoena issued by a grand jury.
In addition to the documents or physical evidence the grand jury can consider, the grand jury also can issue a witness subpoena to hear testimony. For instance, in drug trafficking cases, witnesses could include DEA agents involved in the investigation.
Other witnesses could include a variety of federal agents, such as FBI agents, IRS agents or BATF agents. Although less common, local law enforcement offices could also be called as witnesses particularly when they are involved in the earliest stages of the criminal investigaiton.
The grand jury is an impartial group of citizens chosen from the community. These jurors have the task of investigating whether a crime was committed and who committed the crime.
After reviewing the physical evidence and listening to testimony, the grand jury can determine whether probable cause exists to believe an individual committed the crime. If so, the grand jury will issue a charging document that is known as an indictment. Both federal agents and prosecutors with either the local U.S. Attorney's Office or the U.S. Department of Justice are involved in the presentation of evidence to the grand jury.
The attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein & Hilley are experienced in representing clients who receive a subpoena for a grand jury investigation in the U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division. We also are experienced in representing clients in federal courts throughout the State of Texas and the rest of the United States in grand jury investigations.
The Texas Constitution, under Tex. Const. art. I, § 10, guarantees “no person shall be held to answer for a [felony] criminal offense, unless on an indictment of a grand jury....” This means a grand jury of regular citizens is the only body that can issue a felony criminal indictment against a person in Texas.
The “impartial body which [the Texas Constitution has designed to] act as a screen between the rights of the accused and the prosecuting power of the State.” See Brian A. Kilpatrick, Comment, The Constitutional Right to Indictment by a Grand Jury: Does It Survive after Studer v. State and the 1985 Constitutional and Statutory Amendments?, 44 Baylor L.Rev. 345, 345 (1992)).
A grand jury does not need a unanimous decision to indict a person. However, it does need a supermajority of 2/3 or 3/4 agreement for an indictment, depending on the jurisdiction. If the grand jury chooses to indict, the trial most likely will begin faster.
If the grand jury does not choose to indict, the prosecutor still could bring the defendant to trial if he or she thinks there is a strong enough case against the person or group. The grand jury proceedings, however, often are used as a test run for prosecutors in making the decision to bring the case against a person.
Information of the Federal Grand Jury - Information on the functions of the grand jury including the size of the grand jury, the quorum of jurors needed to conduct business, the alternative and replacement jurors, grand jury officers, the length of the term, how often the grand jury meets and issues surrounding prosecutorial misconduct.
Secret Grand Jury Investigations by USAO - Western District of Texas - Information by the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas, including the San Antonio Division, offers information on secret grand jury investigations.
Grand Jury Investigations in Bexar County, TX - Information about Grand Jury investigations in Bexar County, including the length of the term jurors must serve and the number of meetings. In Bexar County, Grand Jury Investigations are held in secret in the grand jury room on the third floor of the Paul Elizondo Tower, 101 W Nueva, San Antonio, TX 78205-3411.
The attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein & Hilley have been helping clients — including high-profile clients involved in major criminal prosecutions — defend their interests at every stage in criminal justice proceedings for 40 years. We have been involved in many grand jury investigations over the years. Don’t hesitate to contact us to ensure that you have a skilled lawyer by your side throughout the grand jury process.