Code of Virginia

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

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.