Grand Juries: How Do They Work?

The City of Louisville has been in the public eye ever since the case of Breonna Taylor was brought to light. Everyone has been wondering what will happen and how the case will proceed. It appears that this case will be brought to a grand jury. You may be wondering what exactly is a grand jury, and how this will affect the actual conclusion of the case. Well, I’m here to explain exactly how Kentucky’s grand jury system works and what this might mean for the Breonna Taylor case.

 

The grand jury must first be chosen from a pool of people that is meant to be representative of the population of a county. Every eligible person is placed into a pool and chosen at random in order to have a fair selection of the population. A candidate must be over the age of eighteen, a United States citizen, an english speaker, and cannot have served on a jury within the last 24 months. If you fit into all of these categories, then you may be eligible to serve on a jury in the county you have registered your permanent address in. If you are chosen to be put in a jury pool, you will be sent a questionnaire. This just asks all of these questions again and then a few questions about ideology and views to see if you would be able to make yourself politically neutral in order to make fair assessments during your time as a juror. Being in the pool does not guarantee that someone will be called to serve, but it does mean that it is very possible. 

 

Once called in to serve jury duty, jurors will be asked a series of questions to determine how they might respond to certain aspects of the case to determine whether or not they will be able to put aside their own viewpoints to be impartial and fair towards both the defendant and the plaintiff. Most people will be finished with jury duty directly after the questions are asked. Only the few that remain will be asked to actually decide on the case. 

 

In the case of a grand jury, there will be twelve jurors. One will be appointed as the foreperson. This person is in charge of several tasks including the swearing in of all of the witnesses. Grand jury members will not actually decide whether or not a defendant is guilty or innocent. The grand jury hears evidence and determines whether or not to issue an indictment to an individual. An indictment means to bring a formal felony charge to a person. Nine of twelve jurors must be in agreement to issue the indictment and it is the responsibility of the foreperson to report these results in court from the jury.

 

This all applies to the case of Breonna Taylor as this is exactly what is going to happen in Louisville. Twelve jurors are about to decide whether or not the officer involved in the case should be issued with a formal charge. This could be something as extreme as a charge with murder or something along the lines of endangerment. This is something that has been long-awaited not only in Louisville, but across the country. There has not been any news on what the indictment will be or if there is a chance of indictment at all. In the wake of the current movements across the county, people are demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, but there is no current news on whether or not the people will get what they want.