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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.

Are prosecutors bound by secrecy?

 I am still not sure how witnesses in the grand jury are admonished not to reveal anything about the proceedings to anybody until the targeted person is indicted and the transcript is out. Admonishment is given to each witness and to all the jurors not to reveal any part of the proceedings.

How about the Prosecutor himself. Is he allowed to discuss the case and reveal the evidence to the Media during the grand jury proceedings?
 

Response: As to witnesses, in the federal system witnesses are not bound by secrecy and so can talk about their experience - there is no admonishment. Many, if not most, states follow the same rule. Jurors, of course, are bound by secrecy and are warned not to discuss the proceedings.

The prosecutor is also bound by secrecy and is not to discuss the substance of what occurred. You will see prosecutors talking about a case's going to the grand jury - they can talk about basic procedural matters, but cannot talk about the specifics of the investigation.

Asking ensures that you get the most accurate advice (since the judge will of course know the law on these issues in your jurisdiction and may even have dealt with such a situation before). It also means that, if the judge agrees with you, he/she is in a position to instruct the prosecutor to refrain from what he/she has been doing.

SWB

2002

  

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