Grand Jury Investigations

In Broward County, FL, a grand jury is comprised of citizens who have been summoned and empaneled by a judge of the circuit court or by a judge appointed by the Florida Supreme Court, in the case of the statewide grand jury. The grand jury is an agency and an arm of the circuit court and is uniquely independent.

The grand jury is answerable to no person or agency of government except the court that empanels the grand jury. The court that empanels the grand jury can limit the grand jury only to the extent that it may exceed its authority and privileges. The chief judge of the circuit court in the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County, FL, orders the convening of the grand jury for a term of 6 months.

The grand jury investigation can be an important stage of a criminal case being investigated in Broward County at the courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Bacchus Law Firm to discuss a grand jury investigation.

Let us put our experience to work for you. Call (954) 500-5555.

Purpose of the Grand Jury in Florida

Historically, the function of the grand jury was to shield a person from an unjust prosecution. The grand jury would make an initial determination of whether there was sufficient evidence to bring an indictment of a person accused of a crime. To make this determination, the grand jury had the power to investigate the case by issuing subpoenas or reviewing documents obtained through its subpoena power.

An indictment by a grand jury is only required in Florida to charge a person with a capital offense for a crime punishable by death. In all other cases, the prosecutor has the authority to issue a formal accusation called an information to bring a formal charge. The grand jury is often used to take pressure off the State Attorney's office in controversial cases involving allegations of wrongdoing by public officials. 

In most cases in Broward County, the prosecutors simply files an "information" to change an individual with a crime.

Chapter 905 of the Florida Statutes for Grand Jury Investigations

Chapter 905 of the Florida Statute is the governing law on the grand jury which empowers the circuit court with certain responsibilities concerning the grand jury including:

  • charging the grand jurors concerning their duties after the grand jurors are sworn (section 905.11);
  • authorizing disclosure of grand jury testimony in limited circumstances (section 905.27);
  • extending the term of a grand jury upon proper petition (section 905.095);
  • appointing a foreperson and alternate foreperson of the grand jury (section 905.08);
  • excusing a grand juror related to a person being investigated (section 905 .075);
  • advising the grand jury about its legal duties when requested (section 905.18); and
  • trying any challenges to an individual grand juror or the panel (section 905.06).

Additional Resources

REPORTER’S HANDBOOK – THE GRAND JURY - Visit the website of the Florida Bar to learn more about the rules in Florida for a Grand Jury proceeding. The article discusses the structure of the grand jury, rules for secrecy and disclosure, and the difference between the grand jury system in state court and federal court. This article also explains how grand jurors are selected in Florida and when a grand jury is used.

Chapter 905 - Grand Jury Structure - Visit the website of the Florida legislature to learn more about Chapter 905 rules for the Grand Jury including the number of grand jurors, replacement of members, the term of the grand jury, and methods for the procurement of a grand jury in the State of Florida.

Attorney for Grand Jury Investigations in Broward County

The attorneys at Bacchus Law Firm in Fort Lauderdale, FL, represent the target of a criminal investigation that is proceeding to a grand jury investigation. We also represent individuals and businesses who receive a subpoena to appear before the grand jury or to provide documents subject to a subpoena duces tecum.

Call (954) 500-5555 to discuss any case involving a grand jury investigation at the courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, FL, in Broward County. 

This article was last updated on Wednesday, November 22, 2017.