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Recording Grand Jury proceedings

Recording Grand Jury proceedings

The recording of federal grand jury proceedings was not explicitly authorized until Rule 6 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure was adopted in 1946. It allowed proceedings to be recorded, but did not require that a record be made. Rule 6 was revised in 1979, and now requires that federal grand jury proceedings be recorded, either stenographically or electronically. Recording was made mandatory as a check on prosecutorial abuse of the grand jury process; the drafters of the revised rule believed prosecutors would be less likely to engage in misconduct before a grand jury if they knew a record was being kept of their activities.
Most of the states have followed suit. Thirty-six states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming) plus the District of Columbia currently require that grand jury proceedings be recorded. Twelve states (Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin) still follow the pre-1979 federal practice and make recording optional. North Carolina and Oregon require recording under certain circumstances. In North Carolina, the proceedings of regular grand juries are not recorded, but those of a specially convened grand jury must be. In Oregon, the issue is addressed by two statutes; one requires that a grand juror be appointed as clerk and take minutes of the proceedings; the other allows for the appointment of a court reporter to record the proceedings. 
States can be divided into five categories encompassing the methods they use to record grand jury sessions. Twenty of them (Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin) use stenographic recording. Nineteen states (Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming) plus the District of Columbia allow the proceedings to be recorded either stenographically or electronically. In 7 states (Arkansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon and South Dakota), grand jury sessions are recorded by a stenographer or by a grand juror who is assigned to keep minutes of the sessions. In Alaska and Idaho, the proceedings must be recorded electronically. Florida requires that a grand juror be appointed to take minutes of the proceedings, and Iowa assigns this task to a grand jury clerk, who may or may not be a grand juror.

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