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THE GRAND JURY’S COMPOSITION

Perhaps the most fundamental objection raised regarding grand juries concerns their composition and selection. Courts have uniformly recognized the right of a defendant (as opposed to a mere grand jury witness) to raise the issues of grand jury composition. See, e.g., Alexander v. Louisiana, 405 U.S. 625 (1972); Carter v. Jury Commission, 396 U.S. 320 (1970). A successful challenge to a grand jury’s composition or selection is a particularly potent defense inasmuch as any indictment issued by an improperly composed jury is considered invalid. Therefore, though such challenges are rarely successful and often very difficult to maintain, they are worth considering.

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