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Thursday, November 09, 2023

Grand Jury

Those who receive a summons (postcard) to serve as grand jurors must appear on the date listed on the postcard and report to the 1st floor of the Government Services Center, 315 High Street.  If selected as a grand juror, the term lasts for a period of three months.  During this time, jurors can expect to serve one week of each month.

How are jurors selected?

Petit jurors and grand jurors are selected at random by computer, from the voter registration list and will now be summoned via post card. A juror must be a United States citizen, a resident of Butler County, at least 18 years of age and not have lost the right to serve on a jury by having been convicted of certain types of crime (or must have had those rights restored). Beyond that, everyone is given the opportunity to be a juror, regardless of age (if at least 18), race, color, creed or occupation. Few activities in our civic life provide such a direct contact with our democracy as does jury service. 

Each grand juror takes an oath that includes a vow of secrecy-to keep secret all grand jury proceedings. Jurors are not allowed to research cases by reading or watching the news, or searching the Internet.

Unlike petit juries, grand juries do not decide a verdict of guilty or not guilty. It is the grand jury’s job is to listen to evidence presented by the Prosecutor or his Assistant, and determine if there is probable cause that a crime was committed, not determine whether a person committed a crime “beyond a reasonable doubt” as petit juries are tasked to do.

Up to 12 jurors can sit in on the grand jury hearing, but only 9 jurors can vote. At least 7 of the 9 jurors must vote to indict in order for a “bill of indictment” to be issued (referred to as a “true bill”). Otherwise, the charge/s will be “no billed” or “certified back” to the lower courts.