MA Grand Jury
Picture of grand jury taken by sketchblog
In order for the state to indict you with superior court criminal charges in Massachusetts, the case must be before a grand jury. In Massachusetts a grand jury is a secret proceeding that you do not have a right to attend. Grand jurors are members of the community that are randomly selected to listen to evidence. The grand jurors serve for three months at a time.
During a criminal grand jury preceding the prosecutor brings evidence against you. The evidence that is presented in front of the grand jury is usually just the testimony of a police officer. The prosecutor may also summons civilian witnesses to the grand jury to testify against you. If the civilian witness refuses to abide by the summons, the court can issue an arrest warrant to bring the witness to court.
After listening to the evidence, the grand jury can either true bill or no bill an indictment. If the grand jury true bills an indictment that means you will be charged with the offenses. If the grand jury no bills an indictment that means that charges will not be brought at this time.
If you are summons as a witness to testify before the grand jury you must be careful. If you have reason to believe that you may incriminate yourself based on your testimony you need to talk to a lawyer right away. You may have a Fifth Amendment right to remain silent if your statements can lead to your self incrimination.