In the Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding areas, a grand jury can have many roles in a felony court case.
“Prosecutors often leave the decision to grand juries on whether charges should be filed against a suspect, or indict them,” said Inessa Chavez, vice president of All American Bail Bonds in Santa Clarita. “Grand juries are much different than the regular trial juries we see in court.”
A grand jury is made up of 15-23 people who meet in secret proceedings and decided whether there is enough evidence to warrant a trial, according to the California Bail Bonds Education textbook.
Regular trial juries, often known as petit juries, by contrast, have six to 12 people who serve during public trials and determine whether someone is guilty or not.
“During a grand jury session, the prosecutor presents the charges, or a ‘bill,’ and evidence to the jurors,” Chavez said. “Witnesses may be called to testify and the suspect may even be called as a witness to testify.”
Usually when suspects are called to testify, they refuse to testify under the Fifth Amendment of the United State Constitution.
When a grand jury comes to a decision, if they choose to indict the suspect, they will return a “true bill” and if they choose not to indict the suspect, they will return a “no-bill” to the prosecutor.
Bail bonds businesses, like All American Bail Bonds in Santa Clarita, do not often work with the suspect this far into the court phase.
“At All American Bail Bonds in Santa Clarita, we often work with bailing out the suspect and then keep in contact with them or their family until their case is concluded,” Chavez said. “We often don’t work with grand juries.”