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Grand Jury Legal Advisor: Resurrecting the Grand Jury's Shield

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Volume: 98 Issue: 4 Dated: Summer 2008 Pages: 1171-1230
Thaddeus Hoffmeister
Date Published
60 pages
This article explores the Grand Jury Legal Advisor (GJLA), a tool which restores grand jury autonomy.
Findings suggest that the grand jury must have the tools to properly operate; one such tool is the GJLA, which, if implemented, would work to resurrect the grand jury’s shield while still allowing grand jurors, prosecutors, and witnesses to perform their traditional functions. The GJLA is not a new or unproven idea. In fact, it has been around for decades and successfully used in Hawaii, as indicated by the GJLA Survey, and in the military. Also, contrary to the false assumption of some, the GJLA can benefit the prosecutor without unduly slowing down the indictment process. While the GJLA requires minor changes to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, it does not fundamentally alter the traditional role of the grand jury like many other reform proposals. The GJLA model proposed in this article would be appointed by a magistrate judge and in many ways replicate the military and Hawaii models. This article advocates for the creation of a GJLA, provides an overview of the grand jury process, discusses important policy rationales, recommends the implementation of a GJLA, and reviews the potential advantages and disadvantages of employing GJLAs. Appendix