Getting a grand jury summons can be terrifying if you don’t know what it means. We have all heard of a grand jury. Either for the Mueller investigation or even just in the movies. But what exactly does a grand jury do and what makes it different from a typical jury? Well, there are a few things that make the two fundamentally different. Here’s some further explanation.
A regular jury (also known as a Petit jury) typically has 6 to 12 people while a grand jury consists of 12-24 jurors. Depending on the state, some people will actually receive a grand jury summons while in other places, you would get a normal summons and then from there it would be decided whether or not you would be placed in a grand jury or petit jury.
They Are Harder to Get Out Of
With a petit jury you most typically need to spend a day in the courtroom and even then there are many reasons that can get you excused such as scheduling conflicts or children. However, with a grand jury , the only real reason that you could be excused would be impartiality.
A standard petit jury serves the purpose of deciding whether or not a person is guilty of a crime and from there, a judge would declare a sentence. With a grand jury however, the purpose is not to decide if someone is guilty but to decide if someone should be indicted in the first place.
Number of Cases
A petit jury will only hear one trial. When they come to a decision on a verdict, their duty is basically completed. grand juries work very differently. A grand jury juror will need to stay the entire day and can hear as many as 10-12 cases. prosecutors will present evidence and then the jury will decide whether or not to prosecute and this will go on all day.
A petit jury for the most part lasts maybe a a couple of days (with few much longer exceptions) but a grand jury commitment can last a year! You may not have to be there everyday but would still be called in a couple times a week which is definitely a significant commitment.