For some people who are facing drug charges, such as drug trafficking charges, in Cook County or in the federal court system, the behind-the-scenes happenings are often a mystery. One example of something that you might wonder about is the different types of juries that might be part of your case. There are two types of juries — the grand jury and the trial jury. Each of these juries has a different role in a criminal justice case.
A grand jury is the jury that decides if a person should face criminal charges in a case. These juries are often thought of as test juries because the decision of a grand jury isn’t the final word on a case. The prosecutor in a case can ignore the recommendation of the grand jury, which means that even if the grand jury doesn’t think there is enough evidence to charge a person, the prosecutor can ignore that and opt to charge the person.
A trial jury is the jury who decides if a defendant is innocent or guilty. The trial jury can only hear testimony and view evidence that is presented in court. That differs from the ability of the grand jury because the grand jury is able to call any witness it wants and can view almost any evidence it wants.
A trial jury’s decision is the final word in a case unless an appeal is filed. If the trial jury finds a defendant not guilty, the judge can’t decide that the jury was wrong and issue a guilty verdict.
If you are facing drug charges, you should get started working on your defense strategy right away so that you have as much time as possible to prepare in case your case goes before a trial jury.
Source: FindLaw, “What’s the Difference Between a Grand Jury and a Trial Jury?,” accessed Nov. 24, 2015