Grand Jury Investigations
Receiving a grand jury subpoena can be nerve-racking. At The Major Law Firm we can help get you prepared to testify before a grand jury. If the prosecutor is seeking records that they are not entitled to we will file a motion to quash and obtain a ruling from a judge prohibiting the disclosure of the requested records. We will accompany you to the grand jury so that you can consult with us before answering any questions. When you receive a grand jury subpoena, you have constitutional rights that you can exercise to protect yourself. Let The Major Law Firm be your guide and protect your company.
Our Constitution and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure outline the grand jury process. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury…”Felony offenses are presented to the grand jury. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a grand jury is to be composed of 16 to 23 members and that 12 members must agree for an indictment. An indictment gets returned if at 12 members agree that there is probable cause that a crime has been committed.
Members of a grand jury are selected at random from the population of the district or division in which the federal grand jury convenes. Grand jury proceedings are secret. A grand juror, an interpreter, a stenographer an operator of a recording device and attorney for the government are forbidden from disclosing any matter occurring before the grand jury.
There are three categories of persons that generally receive grand jury subpoenas. If the person is a “target,” that means that the grand jury has evidence that the person has committed a crime and the United States Attorney is attempting to indict the target. Sometimes a target letter is sent from the United States Attorney stating that you are the target or subject of a federal grand jury investigation. The United States Attorney rarely calls targets of a grand jury to testify because they do not want to alert the target about the investigation.
If the person is a “subject,” that means the person’s conduct is within the scope of the grand jury’s investigation. If the person is a “witness,” that means that the person has knowledge of facts relevant to the grand jury’s investigation but they are not under investigation.
Grand Jury subpoenas are issued by the United States Attorney’s office without any court approval. There are two types a subpoenas.The first type of subpoena is a subpoenaduces tecum. A subpoenaduces tecum requires the production of documents outlined in the subpoena. Under the Fifth Amendment you have a right to not produce personal records. In certain circumstances the mere act of production constitutes personal testimony conceding the existence or authentication of the document. Depending on the type of records that are being requested by the subpoena, The Major Law Firm may have to file a motion to quash to the subpoena. A motion to quash asks a judge to rule on whether you are required to produce certain records.
The second type of subpoena is a subpoena ad testificandum which commands the person to testify at the grand jury. A witness who receives a grand jury subpoena may invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to testify before the grand jury. The witness must have a general basis for believing that their testimony would be self-incriminating. You have a right to have a lawyer present with you at the grand jury, but the lawyer cannot be in the room with you. You will have the ability to stop questioning and speak with your lawyer.
When you receive a grand jury subpoena, time is of the essence. The faster you contact the Major Law Firm the earlier we can start preparing for the grand jury proceeding. The Major Law Firm has represented people in connection with grand jury investigations, including witnesses, subjects, and targets.