Category: Criminal Law

What does it mean when a defendant is ‘indicted’? Is the defendant guilty?

An indictment just means that a person was charged with a crime.  The defendant is not guilty, but he was accused of committing the crime. One special characteristic of the United States is that in federal courts and often in state courts a “grand jury” indicts the defendant.  A grand jury is a large jury, 16-23 persons, which reviews the evidence presented by the prosecutor and determines whether there is at least enough evidence to accuse the defendant of committing the crime.  Grand juries are intended to, among other things, act as a shield against meritless prosecutions.  Not all states use the grand jury system and some states only use grand juries for certain crimes.   If the grand jury agrees that there is enough evidence the foreperson of the grand jury will sign the document with the accusations against the defendant.  We would say that the grand jury has indicted the defendant.  Below is a short video on grand...

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What happens if someone commits a crime in one state and runs to another?

 Extradition is where one state transfers a defendant to another state to face trial.   The United States Constitution (Article IV Section 2) requires states to extradite persons accused of crime.  There is also federal law requiring extradition.   Each state has its own rules governing extradition but generally speaking, when one state demands that a second state extradite a defendant, the defendant must be...

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