A Grand Jury is a panel
of eighteen (18) citizens chosen at random by a Judge from among the
registered voters of Dale or Geneva County. Its duty is to
receive complaints and accusations in criminal cases, hear the evidence
presented on the part of the State of Alabama, and determine if there
is probable cause for an indictment or formal legal charge.
The Grand Jury protects
people against unfounded prosecution. On the other hand, no
felony case in Alabama can be tried without an indictment returned by a
The following is the law
concerning the secrecy of the proceedings:
§ 12-16-214. Legislative
findings; desirability of secrecy.
The Legislature hereby finds, declares and
determines that it is essential to the fair and impartial
administration of justice that all grand jury proceedings be secret and
that the secrecy of such proceedings remain inviolate. The
provisions of this division are to be construed for the accomplishment
of this purpose and to promote the following:
(1) That grand juries have the utmost freedom in
their discussions, deliberations, considerations, debates, opinions and
votes without fear or apprehension that the same may be subsequently
disclosed, or that they may be subject to outside pressure or influence
or injury in their person or property as a result thereof.
(2) That those persons who have information or
knowledge with respect to the commission of crimes or criminal acts be
encouraged to testify freely and truthfully before an appropriate grand
jury without fear or apprehension that their testimony may be
subsequently disclosed, or that they may be subject to injury in their
person or property as a result thereof.
(3) That those persons who have committed criminal
acts or whose indictment may be contemplated not escape or flee from
the due administration of justice.
(4) That those persons falsely accused of criminal
acts are not subject to public scrutiny or display and their otherwise
good names and reputations are left intact.