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Websites for the Federal Courts

Federal courts – links to federal district courts and to the federal circuit courts of appeals (the district courts are the trial courts, the circuit courts are the intermediate appellate courts and the Supreme Court is the ultimate appellate court), http://www.uscourts.gov/allinks.html#all

Federal prosecutors – this site provides access to every U.S. Attorney’s Office in the country. U.S. Attorneys are federal prosecutors; one is appointed for every federal judicial district in every state. The site gives you the information you need to contact a U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure

The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and specifically Rule 6 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, govern the conduct of grand jury proceedings in the federal system.  The links below will take you to Rule 6 and other relevant rules.

Rule 6
(This rule contains the basic provisions governing federal grand jury procedure)
Rule 7
(This rule prescribes when an indictment must be used and when an information is allowable, along with prescribing the requirement for waiving an indictment and defining what must be included in an indictment)
Rule 17
(This rule prescribes when a subpoena, including a grand jury subpoena, issues and tells how a subpoena must be served)
Rule 42
(This rule defines the procedure for sanctioning criminal contempt)

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Federal Guidelines for Child Witnesses

U.S. Department of Justice, Witness Guidelines – Article VI (Guidelines for Child Victims and Child Witnesses) http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/publications/infores/agg2000/html/a6.html



United States Code

Note:  There are also federal statutes, which are collected ("codified") in the United States Code.  The Code is organized into titles and sections.  Title 18 of the U.S. Code contains MOST of the Code's provisions on criminal matters.  Consequently, a specific statute govering grand jury proceedings (or other criminal matters) will be cited like this:  [Title 18] U.S. Code section _______.  The links below take you to some of the pertinent U.S. Code sections.

18 U.S. Code section 3321
(statute that defines the size of federal grand juries)
18 U.S. Code section 3322
(statute that prescribes the conditions for revealing information a grand jury gathered about a banking law violation)
18 U.S. Code section 3331
(statute authorizing special federal grand juries, that is, federal grand juries that are convened especially to investigate organized crime)
18 U.S. Code section 3332
(statute that outlines the duties of special federal grand juries)
18 U.S. Code 3333
(statute authorizing special federal grand juries to Issue reports on their findings)
18 U.S. Code section 402
(Statute making disobedience of court order criminal contempt)

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U.S. Supreme Court Cases on Grand Juries

The grand jury "can investigate merely on suspicion that the law is being violated,
or even just because it wants assurance that it is not."
U.S. v. Morton Salt Co., 338 U.S. 632, 642-643 (1950)

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided a number of cases on issues involving grand jury practice. The links below take you to some of these cases.

U.S. v. R. Enterprises, Inc., 498 U.S. 292 (1991)
(Court held that grand jury subpoenas are presumed to seek relevant information, so anyone who is trying to avoid complying with a subpoena has to show that there is no way it could seek any information relevant to the grand jury’s investigation. Since the nature and scope of a grand jury’s investigation is secret, this is very difficult to do.)
U.S. v. Williams, 504 U.S. 36 (1992)
(Court held: (1) that a court cannot force a prosecutor to present evidence to a grand jury that shows the person they’re investigating may NOT have committed a crime; (2) that courts have very little power to intervene in grand jury proceedings because grand juries are not part of the court system but are in effect a fourth branch of government, separate and apart from the judiciary, the executive branch, and the legislature.)
Butterworth v. Smith, 494 U.S. 624 (1990)
(Court held that Florida’s permanently banning grand jury witnesses from talking about what occurred when they appeared before a grand jury violated the First Amendment.)
Bank of Nova Scotia v. U.S., 487 U.S. 250 (1988)
(Court held that prosecutor misconduct before the grand jury is analyzed as "harmless error," which means there is no remedy unless the misconduct caused the grand jurors to indict when they would not otherwise have done so. The defendants in this case ultimately went to trial and were acquitted, but their saga–from grand jury investigation to acquittal–consumed seven years and approximately $1,000,000 in legal fees.)
U.S. v. Sells Engineering, 463 U.S. 418 (1983)
(Court held that grand jury information cannot be revealed to federal lawyers for use in litigating a civil case without first obtaining a court’s approval.)
Costello v. U.S., 350 U.S. 359 (1956)
(Court held that hearsay evidence can be used in grand jury proceedings, that the limitations on using hearsay at trial do not apply to grand juries.)
U.S. v. Mandujano, 425 U.S. 564 (1976)
(Court held that the Miranda rights–right to silence and to counsel–do not apply in grand jury proceedings, and that a grand jury witness can only rely on the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. The opinion explains how the two differ.)
U.S. v. Dionisio, 410 U.S. 1 (1973)
(Court held that a grand jury subpoena requiring someone to testify does not fall within the provisions of the Fourth Amendment, and so cannot be challenged as inflicting an unconstitutional search and seizure. It also held that the Fifth Amendment does not protect a grand jury witness from having to give samples of his or her voice, or other kinds of physical evidence.)
U.S. v. Mara, 410 U.S. 19 (1973)
(Court held that the Fifth Amendment does not protect a person from having to give a grand jury samples of their handwriting, because the amendment only applies to "testimony" and handwriting is not testimony.)
U.S. v. Calandra, 414 U.S. 338 (1974)
(Court held that a grand jury can consider evidence that was obtained unconstitutionally, in an unlawful search and seizure, because the exclusionary rule does not apply to the grand jury.)
Fisher v. U.S., 425 U.S. 391 (1976)
(Court held that the contents of documents are not protected by the Fifth Amendment; this means you cannot invoke the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination as the reason for refusing to produce documents a grand jury has subpoenaed.)


Federal Grand Jury Indictment of Bobby Fischer
U.S. v. Robert James Fischer

1998 fraud indictment against Webster & Suzanna Hubbell
(later dismissed)


Federal indictment of Theodore Kaczynski (the Unabomber)

Indictment of Ed Cummings for unlawful possession of modified telecommunication instruments

Indictment of Legion of Doom for computer fraud


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Handbooks for Federal Grand Jurors

Handbook for Federal Grand Jurors
http://www.nynd.uscourts.gov/juror.htm (requires Adobe Acrobat)
Handbook for Federal Grand Jury Forepersons

Links Concerning Historical Societies' Effort to Gain Access to Grand Jury Transcripts that were More Than 50 Years Old--Grand Jury Secrecy Still Applied



The links below take you to sites that have a variety of information about federal grand juries.

Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
(The Fifth Amendment requires the use of grand juries in the federal system)

An explanation and a critique of how grand juries vote in the federal system.

Articles about the Rocky Flats "runaway" grand jury

Rocky Flats Grand Jury Report published - The coverup is over
This is a page from the "Sierra Club" with information on the Rocky Flats Grand Jury

Law review article on American grand juries

Article: "Why grand juries do not (and cannot) protect the accused"

Forms of indictments used to charge various federal tax fraud and related offenses, such as filing false document with federal department or agency

Hoppy Heidelberg, who sat on the federal Oklahoma City bombing grand jury, has given several interviews criticizing how that grand jury operated-here are links to some of those interviews

How grand jurors are chosen:
Grand Jury Foreperson's Handbook
from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division
Frequently Asked Questions about Federal Grand Juries
from the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Arkansas
Juror Information
United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Louisiana Grand Jury

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