Primary Sources | »

Model Grand Jury Charge


There are two kinds of federal juries in the United States. Petit juries (or "trial" juries) decide whether or not someone is guilty or not guilty. Grand Juries decide whether or not someone can be "indicted" for a charge. In other words, they determine if there is enough evidence for someone to stand trial.

In Virginia, Grand Juries are held in federal Circuit Courts located throughout the state. Each year the Circuit Court Judge chooses "at least 60 and not more than 120 persons 18 years of age or over, of honesty, intelligence and good demeanor and suitable in all respects to serve as grand jurors."

This document provides the text of the instructions a judge gives grand jurors during a trial. Note that the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifically mentions grand juries. Why was this included in the Bill of Rights?

Source: Judicial Conference of the United States. "Model Grand Jury Charge," U.S. Courts: Welcome to Jury Duty (accessed June 9, 2009).