A grand jury is a body of inquiry, between twelve and twenty-three persons, summoned by the county sheriff to each session of criminal courts, then sworn and instructed by the court. Its duty is to receive complaints and accusations, hear evidence adduced by the state, and prefer bills of indictment when at least twelve members agree that a trial should be held. When the jurors deem an indictment valid, the foreman inscribes “a true bill” on the back, dates and signs it. If the jury finds the evidence insufficient, the foreman writes “ignoramus” on the bill, indicating the jurors “are ignorant whether the person accused committed the offence charged in the bill.” A petit jury is an ordinary trial jury of twelve persons who are summoned, sworn, and instructed and who deliver a judgment or verdict at the conclusion of a trial.


Alternate Names
Grand Jury