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Note: The comments and questions on this page came from people who visited this website. Please feel free to send your comments and questions to Professor Brenner (brenner@udayton.edu). She will respond privately, and may ask permission to post your message on this page. No one's e-mail will be used without first obtaining their permission, and names and e-mail addresses are removed before a comment is posted. Starting in 2002, the responses posted to the site indicate which of us replied: The initials SWB mean Professor Brenner wrote the response; the initials LES mean Professor Shaw wrote the response. We are also putting the year down, to indicate when the response was posted. If no initials appear, Professor Brenner wrote the response.

Why were grand juries more common a hundred years ago?

Why were grand juries more prevalent a century or two ago?

Response: For several reasons: Grand juries used to perform the civil oversight functions (running local government, for example) that have been taken over by administrative agencies. Also, due to a reaction against grand juries after the civil way, many states (federal system has to use them under the 5th amendment) drastically cut back on their use of grand juries. . . only to increase their use this century. I think the cut back created a period in which people lost touch with grand juries, a phenomenon exacerbated by the rising anonymity of urban society in this century. 

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