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Handbook for Grand Jurors


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 guidelines for federal grand jurors, definition of common terms, and as well as a history of the Grand Jury system. Hint: it was incorporated into the Magna Carta in England in 1215.

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

How to Cite This Source
Judicial Conference of the United States, "Handbook for Grand Jurors," in Virginia Civics, Item #561, (accessed October 20, 2021).
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