The grand jury is a formal investigative body impaneled by a court to investigate possible criminal activity and bring formal charges against an accused through an indictment. Grand jury proceedings are secret. Additionally, grand juries have the power to subpoena witnesses and documents.
The U.S. Constitution provides the right to be charged by an indictment for any felony prosecuted by the federal government. Most states allow prosecution of felonies and other crimes without action by a grand jury. These states limit grand juries to the investigation of complex or extensive criminal activity.
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