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Can the public find out when a grand jury was convened?

If a state or federal regular or special grand jury is convened is that fact withheld from the public? If not withheld from the public where would one find information as to location and time that the jury is/was convened? I realize the content of the proceedings are secret, but is the fact that a jury is convened also secret? Thanks for responding to the questions.


Whether the convening of a grand jury is made public or not depends on whether it is a state or federal grand jury and, if the former, what state is involved. As a general rule, my sense is that in most states the convening of a grand jury either may be actively announced to the public or, at the very least, is a matter the details of which are readily available to such members of the public as care to investigate them.

On the federal level, that is less likely to be true. In certain high-profile cases, the impaneling or involvement of a grand jury may be announced by the press, as I believe both were in the Clinton-Lewinsky grand jury inquiry. That is unusual. At the federal level it is somewhat unclear as to whether the records of a grand jury's impanelment, including the dates on which it began and ended its service, are encompassed by grand jury secrecy. There are some lower federal court decisions, and some local court rules, which have found that records governing impanelment and dates of service are not encompassed by grand jury secrecy; if they are not, then they should be readily accessible to members of the public.

If you want to find out information about the impaneling and/or dates of service of a grand jury, federal or state, you should contact the clerk of the court that impaneled the grand jury. In each court, there will be a clerk or clerks who handle jury matters, and they should be able to tell you how you can obtain this information. If the clerk, especially a clerk of a federal court, tells you the information is not available to the public, you might try contacting the judge that supervises the grand juries and see if the judge will allow you access.




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