Grand Jury

The Grand Jury is a panel of eighteen (18) citizens randomly selected from local citizens who are summoned to report for jury duty. DeKalb and Cherokee Counties have separate Grand Juries that meet throughout the year. 

What the Grand Jury does

The Grand Jury hears criminal cases presented by the Cherokee and DeKalb County Sheriff's Offices, Drug Task Forces, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, police departments throughout the Ninth Circuit and other law enforcement agencies. The panel does not decide guilt or innocence. They hear each case to determine if there is probable cause for an indictment or formal legal charge.

How does a case come before the Grand Jury

After a defendant is arrested and has been bound over through District Court, the case is presented to Grand Jury for consideration. Cases can also come to Grand Jury as part of a direct investigation from a law enforcement agency, prior to an arrest warrant being issued.

What a "true bill", or indictment, means

At the end of each week of service, the Grand Jury issues indictments, or true bills, on all cases for which they have found probable cause exists.

What a "no bill" means

For those cases where the Grand Jury does not find probable cause, the panel issues no bills.

Grand Jury proceedings are secret and confidential

Grand Jury is not an open session of court and is closed to the public, to protect the innocent who may be accused, to encourage witnesses to speak freely and truthfully without fear, and to prevent those persons who have committed criminal acts or whose indictment may be contemplated from fleeing from the due administration of justice. Only prosecutors presenting the cases and their witnesses are allowed in the Grand Jury room. Discussing anything about Grand Jury proceedings before that information is filed with the circuit clerk's office, is a criminal offense.