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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.

How do I find out if Iíve been indicted?

Recently I was the subject of an FBI investigation. I have reason to believe that the case went to a Grand Jury 2 1/2 weeks ago. How do I find out if they handed down an indictment (true bill)?? What is a reasonable amount of time to wait (hearing nothing) before I can assume this matter is dead?

 

Response: I can give you some general information, but I can't give you a specific answer (a) because you're coming close to asking for legal advice, and I don't give legal advice, and (b) because so much depends on the facts of the case it's impossible to speak with much precision based on what you've said.

Before I say anything else, I must tell you this: Get an attorney! Tell your attorney what has happened and she/he can (try to) find out if you have been indicted and, if you have, proceed from there. If you cannot afford an attorney, you can ask the court to appoint one for you. You might have qualified for an appointed attorney during the investigation, depending on your involvement with the grand jury proceeding. You can contact the clerk of the local federal district court to find out more about that.

Now, as to the general information I promised: You say the case "went to" a grand jury two weeks ago--does that mean they began an investigation two weeks ago? Or does it mean that they were asked to vote on an indictment two weeks ago?

If it's the former, it could be quite a while before they reach the indictment state, depending on how complicated the case is and on how much evidence thegovernment already has.

If it's the latter, it could mean they have already voted and an indictment has been returned, it could mean they have already voted and an indictment has not been returned, or it could conceivably mean they have not yet voted (maybe they wanted more evidence?). 

Even if they have already voted to return an indictment, you may not know about it for a while. Aside from anything else, it is possible for an indictment to be sealed (i.e., not made public) for a period of time, if circumstances warrant.

But, again, all this is generic, general information. You need advice based onyour specific situation, so, please, get a lawyer.

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