Code of Virginia

Creating a Report: Check the sections you'd like to appear in the report, then use the "Create Report" button at the bottom of the page to generate your report. Once the report is generated you'll then have the option to download it as a pdf, print or email the report.

Code of Virginia
Title 19.2. Criminal Procedure
Chapter 13. Grand Juries
1/20/2021

Chapter 13. Grand Juries.

Article 1. In General.

§ 19.2-191. Functions of a grand jury.

The functions of a grand jury are twofold:

(1) To consider bills of indictment prepared by the attorney for the Commonwealth and to determine whether as to each such bill there is sufficient probable cause to return such indictment "a true bill."

(2) To investigate and report on any condition that involves or tends to promote criminal activity, either in the community or by any governmental authority, agency or official thereof. These functions may be exercised by either a special grand jury or a regular grand jury as hereinafter provided.

1975, c. 495; 1980, c. 517; 2001, c. 4.

§ 19.2-192. Secrecy in grand jury proceedings.

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, every attorney for the Commonwealth, special counsel, sworn investigator, and member of a regular, special, or multi-jurisdiction grand jury shall keep secret all proceedings which occurred during sessions of the grand jury; provided, however, in a prosecution for perjury of a witness examined before a regular grand jury, a regular grand juror may be required by the court to testify as to the testimony given by such witness before the regular grand jury.

1975, c. 495; 2014, c. 389.

§ 19.2-192.1. Sealing of indictment.

Upon ex parte motion by the Commonwealth and for good cause shown, the circuit court may seal an indictment until such time as the defendant is arrested.

2002, c. 130.

Article 2. Regular Grand Juries.

§ 19.2-193. Number of regular grand juries.

There shall be a regular grand jury at each term of the circuit court of each county and city, unless the court, on the motion of the attorney for the Commonwealth or with his concurrence, finds that it is unnecessary or impractical to impanel a grand jury for the particular term and enters an order to that effect.

Whenever the number of cases to be considered by the grand jury at a given term is so great as to hamper the intelligent consideration thereof by a single grand jury, the court may order two or more regular grand juries to be impanelled to sit separately at the same or a different time during the term.

Whenever a regular grand jury has been discharged, the court, during the term, may impanel another regular grand jury.

Code 1950, § 19.1-147; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-194. When and how grand jurors to be selected and summoned; lists to be delivered to clerk.

The judge or judges regularly presiding in the circuit court of each county and city shall annually, in the month of June, July, or August, select from citizens of the county or city at least 60 persons and not more than 120 persons 18 years of age or over, of honesty, intelligence, impartiality, and good demeanor and suitable in all respects to serve as grand jurors, who, except as hereinafter provided, shall be the grand jurors for the county or city from which they are selected for the next 12 months. The judge or judges making the selection shall at once furnish to the clerk of the circuit court a list of those selected for that county or city.

The clerk, not more than 20 days before the commencement of each term of his court at which a regular grand jury is required, shall issue a venire facias to the sheriff of his county or city, commanding him to summon not less than five nor more than nine of the persons selected as aforesaid (the number to be designated by the judge of the court by an order entered of record) to be named in the writ to appear on the first day of the court to serve as grand jurors. Those persons who are to be summoned shall be randomly selected but no such person shall be required to appear more than once until all the others have been summoned once, nor more than twice until the others have been twice summoned, and so on. The Circuit Court of James City County, or the judge thereof in vacation, shall select the grand jurors for each court from such county and the City of Williamsburg in such proportion from each as he may think proper.

Any person who has legal custody of and is responsible for a child 16 years of age or younger or a person having a mental or physical impairment requiring continuous care during normal court hours shall be excused from jury service upon his request.

Code 1950, § 19.1-148; 1960, c. 366; 1971, Ex. Sess., c. 262; 1973, cc. 401, 439; 1974, c. 618; 1975, c. 495; 1991, c. 226; 2003, c. 825; 2004, c. 306; 2008, c. 644.

§ 19.2-195. Number and qualifications of grand jurors.

A regular grand jury shall consist of not less than five nor more than seven persons. Each grand juror shall be a citizen of this Commonwealth, eighteen years of age or over, and shall have been a resident of this Commonwealth one year and of the county or corporation in which the court is to be held six months, and in other respects a qualified juror, and, when the grand juror is for a circuit court of a county, not an inhabitant of a city, except in those cases in which the circuit court of the county has jurisdiction in the city.

Code 1950, § 19.1-150; 1960, c. 366; 1973, c. 439; 1974, c. 617; 1975, c. 495; 1991, c. 226.

§ 19.2-196. How deficiency of jurors supplied.

If a sufficient number of grand jurors do not appear, the court may order the deficiency to be supplied from the bystanders or from a list furnished by the judge to the sheriff or sergeant.

Code 1950, § 19.1-151; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-197. Foreman of grand jury; oaths of jurors and witnesses.

From among the persons summoned who attend the court shall select a foreman who shall be sworn as follows: "You shall diligently inquire, and true presentment make, of all such matters as may be given you in charge, or come to your knowledge, touching the present service. You shall present no person through prejudice or ill-will, nor leave any unpresented through fear or favor, but in all your presentments you shall present the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help you God." The other grand jurors shall afterwards be sworn as follows: "The same oath that your foreman has taken on his part, you and each of you shall observe and keep on your part. So help you God." Any witness testifying before the grand jury may be sworn by the foreman.

Code 1950, § 19.1-152; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-198. When new foreman or juror may be sworn in.

If the foreman or any grand juror, at any time after being sworn, fail or be unable to attend another may be sworn in his stead.

Code 1950, § 19.1-153; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-199. Judge to charge grand jury.

The grand jury, after being sworn, shall be charged by the judge of the court and shall then be sent to their room. In the charge given by the court to a regular grand jury, the court shall instruct it to advise the court after their considerations of the bills of indictment whether it desires to be impanelled as a special grand jury to consider any matters provided for in subdivision (2) of § 19.2-191.

Code 1950, § 19.1-154; 1960, cc. 366, 467; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-200. Duties of grand jury.

The grand jury shall inquire of and present all felonies, misdemeanors and violations of penal laws committed within the jurisdiction of the respective courts wherein it is sworn; except that no presentment shall be made of a matter for which there is no corporal punishment, but only a fine, where the fine is limited to an amount not exceeding five dollars. After a regular grand jury has concluded its deliberation on bills of indictment and made its return thereon, the court shall inquire of it whether it recommends that a special grand jury be impanelled to perform any of the functions provided for in subdivision (2) of § 19.2-191. If a majority of the grand jurors responds in the affirmative, the court shall impanel so many of that jury as answer in the affirmative and are also willing to serve thereon, plus any additional members as may be necessary to complete the panel, as a special grand jury and if a minority of the grand jurors responds in the affirmative, the court may impanel a special grand jury in the same manner.

Code 1950, § 19.1-155; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495; 1978, c. 741; 1980, c. 134.

§ 19.2-201. (Effective until March 1, 2021) Officers to give information of violation of penal laws to attorney for Commonwealth.

Every commissioner of the revenue, sheriff, constable or other officer shall promptly give information of the violation of any penal law to the attorney for the Commonwealth, who shall forthwith institute and prosecute all necessary and proper proceedings in such case, whether in the name of the Commonwealth or of a county or corporation, and may in such case issue or cause to be issued a summons for any witnesses he may deem material to give evidence before the court or grand jury. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no attorney for the Commonwealth shall go before any grand jury except when duly sworn to testify as a witness, but he may advise the foreman of a regular grand jury or any member or members thereof in relation to the discharge of their duties.

Code 1950, § 19.1-156; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-201. (Effective March 1, 2021) Officers to give information of violation of penal laws to attorney for Commonwealth.

A. As used in this section, "chief law-enforcement officer" means the Superintendent of State Police; any chief of police or sheriff responsible for law enforcement in the jurisdiction served by him; the head of any private police department that has been designated as a criminal justice agency by the Department of Criminal Justice Services as defined by § 9.1-101; the chief of any campus police department established pursuant to §§ 23.1-809 and 23.1-810; the chief of the Lynchburg Regional Airport police department established pursuant to § 15.2-1123.1; or director or chief executive of any agency or department employing law-enforcement officers as defined in § 9.1-101.

B. Every commissioner of the revenue, sheriff, constable or other officer shall promptly give information of the violation of any penal law to the attorney for the Commonwealth, who shall forthwith institute and prosecute all necessary and proper proceedings in such case, whether in the name of the Commonwealth or of a county or corporation, and may in such case issue or cause to be issued a summons for any witnesses he may deem material to give evidence before the court or grand jury. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no attorney for the Commonwealth shall go before any grand jury except when duly sworn to testify as a witness, but he may advise the foreman of a regular grand jury or any member or members thereof in relation to the discharge of their duties.

C. Every chief law-enforcement officer shall provide to the attorney for the Commonwealth access to all records, including police reports, disciplinary records, and internal affairs investigations, relating to wrongful arrest or use of force complaints, or other complaints that a person has been deprived of the rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the laws of the United States and the Commonwealth made against a law-enforcement officer who is employed by the chief law-enforcement officer's agency. Access shall be granted to the attorney for the Commonwealth to such records whenever a law-enforcement officer is a potential witness in a pending criminal matter or criminal investigation related to the performance of his duties as a law enforcement officer.

The chief law-enforcement officer may redact any statements made by a law-enforcement officer employed by his agency or department during an internal affairs investigation that may incriminate such law-enforcement officer or be otherwise used to prosecute such law-enforcement officer. Any redactions made by the chief law-enforcement officer may be challenged by the attorney for the Commonwealth in an ex parte hearing before a circuit court judge.

Any information protected by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act shall not be disclosed pursuant to this subsection.

Code 1950, § 19.1-156; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495; 2020, Sp. Sess. I, c. 37.

§ 19.2-202. How indictments found and presentment made.

At least four of a regular grand jury must concur in finding or making an indictment or presentment. It may make a presentment or find an indictment upon the information of two or more of its own body, or on the testimony of witnesses called on by the grand jury, or sent to it by the court. If only one of their number can testify as to an offense, he shall be sworn as any other witness. When a presentment or indictment is so made or found, the names of the grand jurors giving the information, or of the witnesses, shall be written at the foot of the presentment or indictment.

Code 1950, § 19.1-157; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-203. Indictments ignored may be sent to another grand jury; what irregularities not to vitiate indictment, etc.

Although a bill of indictment be returned not a true bill the same or another bill of indictment against the same person for the same offense may be sent to, and acted on, by the same or another grand jury. No irregularity in the time or manner of selecting the jurors, or in the writ of venire facias, or in the manner of executing the same, shall vitiate any presentment, indictment or finding of a grand jury.

Code 1950, § 19.1-158; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-204. Penalties on officers and jurors for failure of duty.

A court whose officer fails without good cause, when it is his duty, to summon a grand jury and return a list of its names shall fine him twenty dollars. A person summoned and failing to attend a court as a grand juror shall be fined by the court not less than five dollars nor more than twenty dollars, unless, after being summoned to show cause against the fine, he gives a reasonable excuse for his failure.

Code 1950, § 19.1-159; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-205. Pay and mileage of grand jurors.

Every person who serves upon a grand jury, regular or special, shall receive the same compensation and mileage allowed jurors in civil cases by § 17.1-618 and the same shall be paid out of the county or corporation levy.

Code 1950, § 19.1-160; 1960, c. 366; 1974, c. 207; 1975, c. 495.

Article 3. Special Grand Juries.

§ 19.2-206. When impanelled.

A. Special grand juries may be impanelled by a circuit court (i) at any time upon its own motion, (ii) upon recommendation of a minority of the members of a regular grand jury that a special grand jury be impanelled, to perform the functions provided for in subdivision (2) of § 19.2-191, or (iii) upon request of the attorney for the Commonwealth to investigate and report on any condition that involves or tends to promote criminal activity and consider bills of indictment to determine whether there is sufficient probable cause to return each such indictment as a "true bill."

B. A special grand jury shall be impanelled by a circuit court upon the recommendation of a majority of the members of a regular grand jury if the court finds probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed which should be investigated by a special grand jury impanelled to perform the functions provided for in subdivision (2) of § 19.2-191.

Code 1950, § 19.1-149; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 495; 1978, c. 741; 1980, c. 134; 1987, c. 136; 2001, c. 4.

§ 19.2-207. Composition of a special grand jury.

Special grand juries shall consist of not less than seven and not more than 11 members, and shall be summoned from a list prepared by the court. Members of a special grand jury shall possess the same qualifications as those prescribed for members of a regular grand jury, including indifferent in the cause to be conducted by the special grand jury. In order to determine a potential juror's qualifications, the presiding judge shall examine each juror individually and under oath. He shall then certify in writing and not under seal that he has examined the members of the special grand jury and has found that they are qualified and are impartial and disinterested in the subject matter and outcome of the investigation. The examination shall be recorded by a court reporter and conducted pursuant to the requirements of secrecy provided for in this chapter. The court shall appoint one of the members as foreman.

1975, c. 495; 2008, c. 644.

§ 19.2-208. Subpoena power of special grand jury.

The special grand jury may subpoena persons to appear before it to testify and to produce specified records, papers, and documents or other tangible things, but before any witness testifies, he shall be warned by the foreman that he need not answer any questions or produce any evidence that would tend to incriminate him, and that the witness may have counsel of his own procurement present when he appears to testify, and at the same time the foreman also shall warn each witness that he may later be called upon to testify in any case that might grow out of the investigation and report of the special grand jury.

A witness who has been called to testify or produce specified records, papers and documents or other tangible things before a grand jury requested by the attorney for the Commonwealth, and who refuses to testify or produce specified records, papers and documents or other tangible things by expressly invoking his right not to incriminate himself, may be compelled to testify or produce specified records, papers and documents or other tangible things by the presiding judge. Such witness who refuses to testify or produce specified records, papers and documents or other tangible things after being ordered to do so by the presiding judge may be held in contempt and may be incarcerated until the contempt is purged by compliance with the order or the grand jury is discharged. When a witness is compelled to testify or produce specified records, papers and documents or other tangible things after expressly invoking his right not to incriminate himself, and the presiding judge has determined that the assertion of the right is bona fide, the compelled testimony, or any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony or other information, shall not be used against the witness in any criminal proceeding except a prosecution for perjury.

Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, all provisions of this Code relative to immunity granted to witnesses who testify before a grand jury shall remain applicable.

The foreman shall administer the oath prescribed by law for witnesses, and any member of the special grand jury may examine a witness.

1975, c. 495; 2001, c. 4; 2003, c. 565.

§ 19.2-209. Presence of counsel for a witness.

Any witness appearing before a special grand jury shall have the right to have counsel of his own procurement present when he testifies. Such counsel shall have the right to consult with and advise the witness during his examination, but shall not have the right to conduct an examination of his own of the witness.

1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-210. Presence of attorney for the Commonwealth.

The attorney for the Commonwealth shall not be present at any time while the special grand jury is in session except that during the investigatory stage of its proceedings he may be present. When the special grand jury is impanelled upon motion of the court or recommendation of a regular grand jury, he may be present during the investigatory stage only when his presence is requested by the special grand jury and may interrogate witnesses provided the special grand jury requests or consents to such interrogation. When the special grand jury was impanelled upon his request, he may examine any witness called to testify or produce evidence, but his examination of a witness shall in no way affect the right of any grand juror to examine the witness.

The attorney for the Commonwealth shall not be present during or after the investigative stage of the proceedings at any time while the special grand jury is discussing, evaluating or considering the testimony of a witness or is deliberating in order to reach decisions or prepare its report, except that he may be present when his legal advice is requested by the special grand jury.

1975, c. 495; 2001, c. 4.

§ 19.2-211. Provision for special counsel and other personnel.

At the request of the special grand jury, the court may designate special counsel to assist it in its work, and may also provide it with appropriate specialized personnel for investigative purposes.

1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-212. Provision for court reporter; use and disposition of notes, tapes and transcriptions.

A. A court reporter shall be provided for a special grand jury to record, manually or electronically, and transcribe all oral testimony taken before a special grand jury, but such reporter shall not be present during any stage of its deliberations. The notes, tapes and transcriptions of the reporter are for the sole use of the special grand jury, and the contents thereof shall not be divulged by anyone except as hereinafter provided. After the special grand jury has completed its use of the notes, tapes and transcriptions, the foreman shall cause them to be sealed, the container dated, and delivered to the court.

The court shall cause the sealed container to be kept safely. If any witness testifying before the special grand jury is prosecuted subsequently for perjury, the court, on motion of either the attorney for the Commonwealth or the defendant, shall permit them both to have access to the testimony given by the defendant when a witness before the special grand jury, and the testimony shall be admissible in the perjury case.

If no prosecution for perjury is instituted within three years from the date of the report of the special grand jury, the court shall cause the sealed container to be destroyed; however, on motion of the attorney for the Commonwealth, the court may extend the time period for destruction if the grand jury was impanelled at the request of the attorney for the Commonwealth.

B. Upon motion to the presiding judge, the attorney for the Commonwealth shall be permitted to review any evidence that was presented to the special grand jury, and shall be permitted to make notes and to duplicate portions of the evidence as he deems necessary for use in a criminal investigation or proceeding. The attorney for the Commonwealth shall maintain the secrecy of all information obtained from a review or duplication of the evidence presented to the special grand jury. Upon motion to the presiding judge by a person indicted after a special grand jury investigation, similar permission to review, note or duplicate evidence shall be extended if it appears that the permission is consistent with the ends of justice and is necessary to reasonably inform such person of the nature of the evidence to be presented against him, or to adequately prepare his defense.

1975, c. 495; 2001, c. 4; 2003, c. 96; 2008, c. 644.

§ 19.2-213. Report by special grand jury; return of true bill.

At the conclusion of its investigation and deliberation, a special grand jury impanelled by the court on its own motion or on recommendation of a regular grand jury shall file a report of its findings with the court, including therein any recommendations that it may deem appropriate, after which it shall be discharged. Such report shall be sealed and not open to public inspection, other than by order of the court.

A majority, but not less than five, of the members of a special grand jury convened upon request of the attorney for the Commonwealth must concur in order to return a "true bill" of indictment. A "true bill" may be returned upon the testimony of, or evidence produced by, any witness who was called by the grand jury, upon evidence presented or sent to it.

1975, c. 495; 1978, c. 638; 2001, c. 4.

§ 19.2-213.1. Discharge of special grand jury.

If a special grand jury has not filed a report pursuant to § 19.2-213 within six months of its impanelling, the circuit court appointing it shall discharge it; provided, however, if such court, in its discretion, determines that the special grand jury is making progress in its investigation, the court may direct that special grand jury to continue its investigation pursuant to this article.

1978, c. 638.

§ 19.2-214. Prosecutions resulting from report.

Any bill of indictment for alleged criminal offenses, which may follow as a result of the report of the special grand jury, shall be prepared by the attorney for the Commonwealth for presentation to a regular grand jury.

1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-215. Costs of special grand jury.

All costs incurred for services provided by the court for a special grand jury shall be paid by the Commonwealth.

1975, c. 495.

Article 4. Multi-Jurisdiction Grand Juries.

§ 19.2-215.1. Functions of a multi-jurisdiction grand jury.

The functions of a multi-jurisdiction grand jury are:

1. To investigate any condition that involves or tends to promote criminal violations of:

a. Title 10.1 for which punishment as a felony is authorized;

b. § 13.1-520;

c. §§ 18.2-47 and 18.2-48;

d. §§ 18.2-111 and 18.2-112;

e. Article 6 (§ 18.2-59 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2;

f. Article 7.1 (§ 18.2-152.1 et seq.) of Chapter 5 of Title 18.2;

g. Article 1 (§ 18.2-247 et seq.) and Article 1.1 (§ 18.2-265.1 et seq.) of Chapter 7 of Title 18.2;

h. Article 1 (§ 18.2-325 et seq.) and Article 1.1:1 (§ 18.2-340.15 et seq.) of Chapter 8 of Title 18.2, Chapter 29 (§ 59.1-364 et seq.) of Title 59.1 or any other provision prohibiting, limiting, regulating, or otherwise affecting gaming or gambling activity;

i. § 18.2-434, when violations occur before a multi-jurisdiction grand jury;

j. Article 2 (§ 18.2-438 et seq.) and Article 3 (§ 18.2-446 et seq.) of Chapter 10 of Title 18.2;

k. § 18.2-460 for which punishment as a felony is authorized;

l. Article 1.1 (§ 18.2-498.1 et seq.) of Chapter 12 of Title 18.2;

m. Article 1 (§ 32.1-310 et seq.) of Chapter 9 of Title 32.1;

n. Chapter 4.2 (§ 59.1-68.6 et seq.) of Title 59.1;

o. Article 9 (§ 3.2-6570 et seq.) of Chapter 65 of Title 3.2;

p. Article 1 (§ 18.2-30 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2;

q. Article 2.1 (§ 18.2-46.1 et seq.) and Article 2.2 (§ 18.2-46.4 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2;

r. Article 5 (§ 18.2-186 et seq.) and Article 6 (§ 18.2-191 et seq.) of Chapter 6 of Title 18.2;

s. Chapter 6.1 (§ 59.1-92.1 et seq.) of Title 59.1;

t. § 18.2-178 where the violation involves insurance fraud;

u. § 18.2-346, 18.2-348, or 18.2-349 for which punishment as a felony is authorized or § 18.2-355, 18.2-356, 18.2-357, or 18.2-357.1;

v. Article 9 (§ 18.2-246.1 et seq.) of Chapter 6 of Title 18.2;

w. Article 2 (§ 18.2-38 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2;

x. Malicious felonious assault and malicious bodily wounding under Article 4 (§ 18.2-51 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2;

y. Article 5 (§ 18.2-58 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2;

z. Felonious sexual assault under Article 7 (§ 18.2-61 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2;

aa. Arson in violation of § 18.2-77 when the structure burned was occupied or a Class 3 felony violation of § 18.2-79;

ab. Chapter 13 (§ 18.2-512 et seq.) of Title 18.2;

ac. § 18.2-246.14 and Chapter 10 (§ 58.1-1000 et seq.) of Title 58.1;

ad. Subsection A or B of § 18.2-57 where the victim was selected because of his race, religious conviction, gender, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, color, or national origin;

ae. § 18.2-121 for which punishment as a felony is authorized;

af. Article 5 (§ 18.2-420 et seq.) of Chapter 9 of Title 18.2; and

ag. Any other provision of law when such condition is discovered in the course of an investigation that a multi-jurisdiction grand jury is otherwise authorized to undertake and to investigate any condition that involves or tends to promote any attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to violate the laws enumerated in this section.

2. To report evidence of any criminal offense enumerated in subdivision 1 and for which a court reporter has recorded all oral testimony as provided by § 19.2-215.9 to the attorney for the Commonwealth or United States attorney of any jurisdiction where such offense could be prosecuted or investigated, or to the chief law-enforcement officer of any jurisdiction where such offense could be prosecuted or investigated, or to a sworn investigator designated pursuant to § 19.2-215.6, or, when appropriate, to the Attorney General.

3. To consider bills of indictment prepared by a special counsel to determine whether there is sufficient probable cause to return each such indictment as a "true bill." Only bills of indictment which allege an offense enumerated in subdivision 1 may be submitted to a multi-jurisdiction grand jury.

4. The provisions of this section shall not abrogate the authority of an attorney for the Commonwealth in a particular jurisdiction to determine the course of a prosecution in that jurisdiction.

1983, c. 543; 1991, c. 616; 1995, c. 552; 2000, c. 359; 2002, cc. 588, 623; 2004, cc. 396, 435; 2008, c. 704; 2009, c. 491; 2011, c. 504; 2013, cc. 83, 314, 459; 2014, cc. 389, 422, 534; 2015, cc. 690, 691; 2019, c. 617; 2020, c. 747.

§ 19.2-215.2. Application for such grand jury.

Provided the Attorney General has approved the application in writing prior to submission, application for a multi-jurisdiction grand jury may be made to the Supreme Court of Virginia by two or more attorneys for the Commonwealth from jurisdictions which would be within the original scope of the investigation. The application shall be in writing and shall state (i) which jurisdictions will be involved in the original scope of the investigation, (ii) in which jurisdiction it is requested that the multi-jurisdiction grand jury be convened, (iii) the name or names of the attorneys for the Commonwealth or their assistants who will serve as special counsel to the grand jury, (iv) the name of the attorney who shall direct the grand jury proceedings. The presiding judge may extend or limit the jurisdictional territory of the investigation, for good cause shown, upon the motion of a grand jury already convened. Notice of every such application shall be given to the attorneys for the Commonwealth in the jurisdictions named in the application and, if the original scope of the investigation is extended into other jurisdictions, notice of such extension shall be given to the attorneys for the Commonwealth in the jurisdictions into which the investigation is extended.

1983, c. 543.

§ 19.2-215.3. When impaneled; impaneling order.

Upon application by two or more attorneys for the Commonwealth, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, or any justice designated by the Chief Justice, may within twenty days thereafter order the impaneling of a multi-jurisdiction grand jury for a term of twelve months. The term of such a grand jury may be extended for successive periods of not more than six months by the Chief Justice, or by any justice designated by the Chief Justice, upon the petition of a majority of the members of the grand jury.

The impaneling order shall designate the jurisdiction requested on the application as the jurisdiction where the multi-jurisdiction grand jury shall be convened and shall, unless all judges of that circuit have recused themselves, appoint a judge of the circuit court of that jurisdiction as the presiding judge. The impaneling order shall also designate special counsel and each special counsel who will assist the multi-jurisdiction grand jury as listed in the application. The presiding judge shall substitute or appoint additional special counsel upon motion of special counsel.

1983, c. 543; 2010, c. 438.

§ 19.2-215.4. Number and qualifications of jurors; grand jury list; when convened; compensation of jurors.

A. A multi-jurisdiction grand jury shall consist of not less than seven nor more than 11 members. Each member of a multi-jurisdiction grand jury shall be a citizen of this Commonwealth, 18 years of age or older, and a resident of this Commonwealth for one year and of one of the jurisdictions named in the application for six months.

B. The presiding judge shall determine the number of grand jurors to be drawn and shall draw them so that, to the extent practicable, each of the jurisdictions named in the application is represented by at least one juror residing in that jurisdiction, but in no event shall said panel have more than 11 members. The grand jurors shall be summoned from a list prepared by the presiding judge. In the preparation of this list, the presiding judge shall select only persons who have been selected as regular grand jurors pursuant to the provisions of § 19.2-194 in the jurisdiction named in the application. Members of a multi-jurisdiction grand jury shall possess the same qualifications as those prescribed for members of a regular grand jury, including indifference in the cause.

C. The provisions of § 19.2-192 dealing with secrecy in grand jury proceedings are incorporated herein by reference.

D. The presiding judge shall determine the time, date and place within the designated jurisdiction where the multi-jurisdiction grand jury is to be convened. The presiding judge shall also appoint one of the grand jurors to serve as foreman. Members of the multi-jurisdiction grand jury shall be compensated according to the provisions of § 19.2-205. The expense of a multi-jurisdiction grand jury shall be borne by the Commonwealth.

1983, c. 543; 2008, c. 644.

§ 19.2-215.5. Subpoena power; counsel for witness; oath.

A multi-jurisdiction grand jury has statewide subpoena power and, through special counsel, may subpoena persons to appear before it to testify and may subpoena the production of evidence, with or without the custodian of records at the election of special counsel, in the form of specified records, papers, documents, or other tangible things. Such subpoenas shall be returnable for a specific meeting of the multi-jurisdiction grand jury. Mileage and such other reasonable expenses as are approved by the presiding judge shall be paid such persons from funds appropriated for such purpose.

A witness before a multi-jurisdiction grand jury shall be entitled to the presence of counsel in the grand jury room, but he may not participate in the proceedings.

The foreman shall administer the oath required by law for witnesses.

1983, c. 543; 2014, c. 389.

§ 19.2-215.6. Role and presence of special counsel; examination of witnesses; sworn investigators.

Special counsel may be present during the investigatory stage of a multi-jurisdiction grand jury proceeding and may examine any witness who is called to testify or produce evidence. The examination of a witness by special counsel shall in no way affect the right of any grand juror to examine the witness.

At the request of special counsel, the presiding judge shall designate specialized personnel for investigative purposes. Such personnel shall be designated as a sworn investigator and shall be administered an oath to maintain the secrecy of all proceedings of the multi-jurisdiction grand jury. A sworn investigator is permitted to discuss multi-jurisdiction grand jury proceedings with any other sworn investigator or special counsel and may participate in multi-jurisdiction grand jury proceedings at the request of special counsel or the grand jury. Any specialized personnel who have been administered an oath to maintain the secrecy of all proceedings of the multi-jurisdiction grand jury before July 1, 2014, and who continue to serve in that position are deemed to be sworn investigators under this section.

Special counsel and sworn investigators, however, may not be present at any time during the deliberations of a multi-jurisdiction grand jury except when the grand jury requests the legal advice of special counsel as to specific questions of law.

1983, c. 543; 2014, c. 389.

§ 19.2-215.7. Warnings given to witnesses; when witness in contempt; use of testimony compelled after witness invokes right against self-incrimination.

A. Every witness testifying before a multi-jurisdiction grand jury shall be warned by special counsel or by the foreman of the grand jury that he need not answer any question that would tend to incriminate him, and that he may later be called upon to testify in any case that may result from the grand jury proceedings.

B. A witness who has been called to testify or produce evidence before a multi-jurisdiction grand jury, and who refuses to testify or produce evidence by expressly invoking his right not to incriminate himself, may be compelled to testify or produce evidence by the presiding judge. A witness who refuses to testify or produce evidence after being ordered to do so by the presiding judge may be held in contempt and may be incarcerated until the contempt is purged by compliance with the order.

C. When a witness is compelled to testify or produce evidence after expressly invoking his right not to incriminate himself, and the presiding judge has determined that the assertion of the right is bona fide, the compelled testimony, or any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony or other information, shall not be used against the witness in any criminal proceeding except a prosecution for perjury.

1983, c. 543.

§ 19.2-215.8. Returning a "true bill" of indictment; jurisdiction to be set out.

In order to return a "true bill" of indictment, a majority, but in no instance less than five, of the multi-jurisdiction grand jurors must concur in that finding. A multi-jurisdiction grand jury may return a "true bill" of indictment upon the testimony of, or evidence produced by, any witness who was called by the grand jury, upon evidence presented to it by special counsel, or upon evidence sent to it by the presiding judge.

Every "true bill" of indictment returned by a multi-jurisdiction grand jury shall state in which jurisdiction or jurisdictions the offense is alleged to have occurred. Thereafter, when venue is proper in more than one jurisdiction, the presiding judge who directed the grand jury proceeding shall elect in which one of the jurisdictions named in the indictment the indictment is to be prosecuted.

1983, c. 543.

§ 19.2-215.9. Court reporter provided; safekeeping of transcripts, notes, etc.; when disclosure permitted; access to record of testimony and evidence.

A. A court reporter shall be provided for a multi-jurisdiction grand jury to record, manually or electronically, and transcribe all oral testimony taken before a multi-jurisdiction grand jury, but such a reporter shall not be present during any stage of its deliberations. Such transcription shall include the original or copies of all documents, reports, or other evidence presented to the multi-jurisdiction grand jury. The notes, tapes, and transcriptions of the reporter are for the use of the multi-jurisdiction grand jury, and the contents thereof shall not be used or divulged by anyone except as provided in this article. After the multi-jurisdiction grand jury has completed its use of the notes, tapes, and transcriptions, the foreman shall cause them to be delivered to the clerk of the circuit court in whose jurisdiction the multi-jurisdiction grand jury sits, with copies provided to special counsel. Upon motion of special counsel, the presiding judge may order that such notes, tapes, and transcriptions be destroyed at the direction of special counsel by any means the presiding judge deems sufficient, provided that at least seven years have passed from the date of the multi-jurisdiction grand jury proceeding where such notes, tapes, and transcriptions were made.

B. The clerk shall cause the notes, tapes, and transcriptions or other evidence to be kept safely. Upon motion to the presiding judge, special counsel or the attorney for the Commonwealth or United States attorney of any jurisdiction where the offense could be prosecuted or investigated shall be permitted to review any of the evidence which was presented to the multi-jurisdiction grand jury and shall be permitted to make notes and to duplicate portions of the evidence as he deems necessary for use in a criminal investigation or proceeding. Special counsel, the attorney for the Commonwealth, or the United States attorney shall maintain the secrecy of all information obtained from a review or duplication of the evidence presented to the multi-jurisdiction grand jury, except that this information may be disclosed pursuant to the provisions of subdivision 2 of § 19.2-215.1. A United States attorney satisfies his duty to maintain secrecy of information obtained from a review or duplication of evidence presented to the multi-jurisdiction grand jury if such information is maintained in accordance with the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. After a person has been indicted by a grand jury, the attorney for the Commonwealth shall notify such person that the multi-jurisdiction grand jury was used to obtain evidence for a prosecution. Upon motion to the presiding judge by a person indicted by a multi-jurisdiction grand jury or by a person being prosecuted with evidence presented to a multi-jurisdiction grand jury, similar permission to review, note, or duplicate evidence shall be extended.

Any person granted permission to make notes and to duplicate portions of the evidence given before the multi-jurisdiction grand jury shall maintain the secrecy of all information obtained from a review or duplication of the evidence presented to the multi-jurisdiction grand jury, except for disclosure as he deems necessary for use in a criminal investigation or proceeding. The timing of the access to such evidence shall be determined by the presiding judge after a hearing on the matter, if the parties do not otherwise agree. Any person granted permission herein is precluded from making additional copies of these materials, except as he deems necessary for use in a criminal investigation or proceeding, without permission of the presiding judge and is to notify the presiding judge and the attorney for the Commonwealth immediately if these materials are lost or their secrecy has not been maintained.

C. If any witness who testified or produced evidence before the multi-jurisdiction grand jury is prosecuted on the basis of his testimony or the evidence he produced, or if any witness is prosecuted for perjury on the basis of his testimony or the evidence he produced before the multi-jurisdiction grand jury, the presiding judge, on motion of either special counsel or the defendant, shall permit the defendant access to the testimony of or evidence produced by the defendant before the multi-jurisdiction grand jury. The testimony and the evidence produced by the defendant before the multi-jurisdiction grand jury shall then be admissible in the trial of the criminal offense with which the defendant is charged (i) to establish a charge of perjury in the Commonwealth's case-in-chief on the basis of his testimony before the multi-jurisdiction grand jury and (ii) for the purpose of impeaching the defendant in the trial of any other criminal matter, provided the testimony or evidence being used for impeachment was produced by the defendant voluntarily before the multi-jurisdiction grand jury.

1983, c. 543; 2014, c. 389; 2016, c. 262; 2019, c. 522.

§ 19.2-215.10. Participation by Office of Attorney General; assistance of special counsel permitted in certain prosecutions.

Upon request by the applicants or upon motion to the presiding judge by special counsel, the Office of Attorney General may participate as special counsel in the multi-jurisdiction grand jury proceedings and any prosecutions arising therefrom. In any prosecution arising out of the multi-jurisdiction grand jury, the attorney for the Commonwealth may also obtain the assistance of the special counsel to the grand jury as a special assistant attorney for the Commonwealth.

1983, c. 543.

§ 19.2-215.11. Discharge of grand jury.

At any time during the original or extended term of a multi-jurisdiction grand jury, the presiding judge may discharge the grand jury if, in the opinion of the presiding judge, the existence of the multi-jurisdiction grand jury is no longer necessary.

1983, c. 543.