According to Mark Gillispie’s October 21, 2015 News Herald article entitled “An explanation of a grand jury panel”, last year Cuyahoga County grand juries found that the prosecution had met its probable cause burden to indict over 11,000 individuals and that the prosecution had not met is burden to charge only 326 times.
R.C. 2939.02 entitled “Grand jury selection and composition” provides that “Grand juries shall consist of fifteen persons” who satisfy the following juror qualifications:
- At least eighteen (18) years old;
- A resident of the county; and
- Is an elector or would be an elector if the person is registered to vote.
Ohio Grand Juries serve three main purposes:
- Reviewing evidence and testimony presented by the police and prosecutors in furtherance of indicting an individual for one or multiple criminal offenses;
- Conducting investigations regarding possible criminal behavior; and
- Conducting a quarterly examination and issuing a report of the county jail regarding the discipline and treatment of the prisoners as well as the prisoners’ habits, diet and accommodations.
R.C. 2939.20 entitled “Concurrence by twelve grand jurors for indictment” provides in pertinent part that “at least twelve (12) of the grand jurors must concur in the finding of an indictment…”
Further, grand jury members are order to secrecy both as to whether an Indictment has been found against an individual and as to the opinion/vote of the other grand jury members.
R.C. 2939.18 entitled “Secrecy of indictment” provides,
“No grand juror, officer of the court, or other person shall disclose that an indictment has been found against a person not in custody or under bail, before such indictment is filed and the case docketed, except by the issue of process.”
“No grand juror may state or testify in court in what manner any member of the grand jury voted or what opinion was expressed by any juror on any question before the grand jury.”
If the Grand Jury finds probable cause that an individual more likely than not committed a specified offense the individual will be indicted.
R.C. 2941.06 entitled “Form of indictment” provides the form of an indictment:
“The State of Ohio,) ss .
. . . . . . . . County)
In the Year ……
The jurors of the Grand Jury of the State of Ohio, within and for the body of the County aforesaid, on their oaths, in the name and by the authority of the State of Ohio, do find and present that A.B., on the ……. day of ……. ….., at the county of ……….. aforesaid, did ……. (here insert the name of the offense if it has one, such as murder, arson, or the like, or if a misdemeanor having no general name, insert a brief description of it as given by law) contrary to the form of the statute in such case made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the State of Ohio.
………………….. C.D. ……………………
(Indorsed) A true bill.
E.F., Foreperson of the Grand Jury.”
If you or someone you care about has been indicted or is under Grand Jury investigation, please contact Attorney Michael C. Hennenberg to schedule a consultation.