(1)States that give their legislatures the power to
abolish the entire institution:
Only 10 states (Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois,
Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming) have given their
legislatures the power to abolish the institution of the grand jury. And only one of the
ten--Connecticut--has even partially abrogated the use of the grand jury. Nine of the ten
combine this ability to abolish the grand jury with the authority to modify it.
(2)A state that gave its courts the power to abolish
the indicting grand jury.
Pennsylvania--has given its county courts the ability to
abolish the use of the grand jury to bring criminal charges. All of the county courts have
exercised this ability.
(3)States that either deny the power to abolish the grand
jury or require that the grand jury be used to charge certain offenses.
states (Alabama, Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts,
Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina,
Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia) deny
their courts and legislatures the power to abolish the grand jury; they do this either by
explicitly denying them this ability or by requiring that grand juries be used to bring
charges for at least some offenses. Since it is a federal enclave, the District of
Columbia is bound by the Fifth Amendment, which means it must use the grand jury to charge
capital or otherwise infamous crimes.
(4)States whose position is ambiguous, as they allow, but
do not require, that grand juries be used for some purpose.
Seventeen states (Arizona,
Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada,
New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming) fall into this category.
They do not explicitly authorize the abolition of the grand jury but they do not require
that grand juries be used to return charges. One can argue that by not requiring the use
of grand juries, these states implicitly authorize the abolition of that
The one state that does not fall into any of these categories is North Dakota.
It requires that grand juries be used to bring charges for felonies, but North Dakota also
gives its legislature the ability to abolish the grand jury.