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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26410
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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In Alabama, is it correct to have a grand jury without the

Customer Question

In Alabama, is it correct to have a grand jury without the knowledge of the defendant? Does he have a right to testify at his grand jury and bring in character witnesses?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Zoey and I'll be assisting you. I'm reviewing your question now. Are you online at this time?

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

The Grand Jury is a secret proceeding run by the prosecutor's office. In Alabama, according to rule 12.7 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal procedure, there is no absolute right in Alabama for a defendant to testify before the grand jury. It's discretionary. Similarly, the prosecutor can control whether defense witnesses will be able to testify before a grand jury.

Note that a grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence. They only vote on whether or not the case should proceed as a felony. The standard for an indictment is very low, and a very common saying is that "a good DA can indict a ham sandwich." For this reason most criminal defendants do not/or should not testify before the grand jury. The odds are high that they will be indicted anyway, and anything they say before the grand jury will be used against them at trial. Additionally, they are giving their defense away at a point where it can do more harm than good.

Sometimes, it is a wise decision for a defendant to testify before a grand jury, but in most cases, his 5th Amendment right to remain silent is too important to waive.

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 1 year ago.

Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.