Grand juries are made up of citizens who are generally empaneled to determine if a defendant should stand trial for a crime which has allegedly been committed. Grand jurors have tremendous responsibilities, as they protect the innocent from being unjustly prosecuted as well as handing down indictments that can result in a trial and the potential for criminal conviction. Defendants must understand the role of grand juries within the Nevada justice system, and must be prepared to respond assertively and strategically if a grand jury is conducting an investigation into their conduct.
Nicholas Wooldridge of LV Criminal Defense provides legal representation to clients who are concerned about the potential that a grand jury will indict them. In addition to helping clients determine if they should challenge an indictment by filing a writ of habeas corpus, a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer can also provide guidance in beginning to prepare a defense in case a grand jury makes the decision to indict.
Grand juries have an important investigatory role within the criminal justice system. When a prosecutor convenes a grand jury to determine whether to indict a defendant, grand juries generally only hear evidence that the prosecutor presents to them. However, grand juries also have broad powers to conduct comprehensive investigations of suspected wrongdoing.
According to Nevada Revised Statute 172.165, grand jurors are obliged to declare knowledge of criminal or wrongful acts to their fellow jurors, who can investigate alleged offenses. Grand jurors should declare their knowledge of any public offense they have reason to believe was committed, as long as the offense is triable within the jurisdiction of the district court where the grand jury was empaneled.
Nevada Revised Statute 172.175 provides further details about the specific matters into which a grand jury is allowed to inquire. Unless the grand jury has been impaneled for a limited specific purpose, grand jurors are given the authority to inquire into the cases of every person imprisoned in the county jail who have not been indicted or who have not had an information filed by a prosecutor (an indictment and an information are the two ways that a criminal case moves on to the prosecuting phase in Nevada).
Nick Wooldridge has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in Nevada.
Grand juries not impaneled for a particular purpose may also conduct investigations into prison conditions and management of public prisons, and may conduct investigations into misconduct by public officers that may be considered a violation of laws related to crimes by and against the state’s executive power. These grand juries may also inquire into matters which affect the health, morals, and general welfare of county inhabitants.
To conduct such investigations, grand juries can enter jails and examine records according to N.R.S. 172.185; can issue subpoenas according to N.R.S. 172.195; and can engage the services of attorneys, public accountants and other skilled persons under N.R.S. 172.205. These and other powers of grand juries ensure that grand juries have the tools they need to conduct investigations into criminal acts or public corruption.
A Las Vegas defense attorney at LV Criminal Defense can provide invaluable assistance to anyone who has come under investigation and to anyone who has been indicted. With out detailed knowledge of the authority of grand juries and of options defendants have for responding to indictments, we provide the guidance you need to make informed choices throughout your entire experience with the criminal justice system.
From the time an investigation begins until your case is resolved, we’ll be there to help you. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more.