Prosecutors can use grand juries to start criminal proceedings against targets. Grand juries bear some similarity to trial, but are really entirely different animals.
Grand Jury Basics
A grand jury is a group of citizens that hears evidence presented by the prosecutor and decides whether there's probable cause to believe that a crime occurred and the defendant committed it.
Why Prosecutors Choose Grand Juries Instead of Preliminary Hearings
The grand jury process is prosecutor-friendly.
Testifying Before a Grand Jury
Your rights in a grand jury room -- whether called as a witness or as the target of the investigation -- are very limited.
What's a special, or investigative grand jury?
What’s a special, or investigative grand jury?
Do Prosecutors Have to Present Evidence That Helps the Defendant to a Grand Jury?
In many states, when prosecutors initiate a case through use of a grand jury, they have to present evidence that’s helpful to the accused.
Do grand juries always indict?
There’s a famous quip that a decent prosecutor could convince a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.
Is an indictment the same as a conviction?
Indictments do not establish guilt.