In the US, would you consider hearings before a Grand Jury part of the criminal procedure/process?

I would say it is not, because it happens before indictment, and I assume that there is not a criminal process if there is not a defendant. If so, how would you qualify it?

EDIT: do I confuse process and trial?

1 Answer 1


The criminal justice process begins when a crime is committed and ends when corrections are presented to the individuals involved. Everything that happens in the courts up to sentencing is all part of the criminal justice process. According to the FBI, pretrial hearings in front of a grand jury are, in fact, part of the criminal process. Grand Juries are not always used; however, it is important to know they are not part of determining guilt or punishment.

The grand jury has quite an important role in the criminal process: prosecutors will usually work with a grand jury to decide whether to bring criminal charges or an indictment against a potential defendant -- usually reserved for serious felonies. In summary, a Grand Jury will determine if there is enough evidence to convict an individual for a crime.

To abstractly respond to your question, Grand Jury hearings are in fact part of the criminal justice procedure. Although everyone will surely have their own opinion on the matter, just know that if it is part of the process in furthering a court case, then it is part of the criminal justice process.

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    criminal process begins when a crime is committed, even if the crime goes unnoticed? what about an investigation which goes nowhere? Also, Everything that happens in the courts seems to imply that the GJ is a court, doesn't it? Also, when you write GJ will determine if there is enough evidence to convict, do you mean indict?
    – mario
    Jan 9, 2016 at 18:38
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    defendants do not defend themselves in front of the GJ, correct?
    – mario
    Jan 9, 2016 at 18:41
  • @mario Correct, defendants don't appear (except maybe in some special cases). And criminal procedure certainly includes investigations which go nowhere; at a number of law schools, the intro criminal procedure course is entirely about the part between crime and arraignment, with the part from "bail to jail" being taught in the advanced course.
    – cpast
    Jan 9, 2016 at 22:39
  • @cpast i am not sure how to sort out process vs. procedure (vs. trial). I am assuming that the first two are not synonymous, since otherwise the expression procedural due process would be awkward (or a pleonasm).
    – mario
    Jan 9, 2016 at 23:10
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    @mario "Due process" is its own special term; other than when there are special terms that don't mean exactly what you'd think by parsing the constituent words (which is not just a legal thing, but rather is pretty common in English), "procedure" and "process" are roughly synonymous. "Procedural due process" is a term precisely because "due process" doesn't just talk about the process (it's shorthand for "due process of law," and US courts have read into "of law" the notion that something violating the fundamental rights of a free society is no law at all).
    – cpast
    Jan 9, 2016 at 23:45

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