If someone is arrested and charged with one or more felonies, the prosecution will serve notice pursuant to Criminal Procedure Law 190.50 that the case will be heard by a Grand Jury. This is one of the preliminary steps in the prosecution of felony cases. A Grand Jury is a panel who listens to the evidence and determines if an indictment will be brought against the defendant and what charges will be contained in the indictment. That indictment is called a true bill. A defendant has a right to testify in the Grand Jury, but must serve cross 190.50 notice of their intention to testify. Failure to file such cross notice may result in foregoing the right to testify at the grand jury.
Unlike a trial, a Grand Jury is presided over by an Assistant District Attorney, and a judge is not present. Criminal Procedure Law 190.50 governs the Grand Jury proceedings and who may be called as a witness. A defendant who is charged with a felony should be advised by his or her attorney about the advantages and risks in testifying before the Grand Jury, and safeguarding this right.
We have counseled many people about Grand Jury proceedings. Call us if you need a lawyer.