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Is an indictment the same as a conviction?
A grand jury's job is very different than that of a trial, or "petit" (small) jury. The grand jury determines whether there is enough evidence to warrant sending the case to trial -- whether there's "probable cause" to conclude that a particular person comitted a crime. A trial jury, on the other hand, decides actual guilt and sometimes punishment. One consequence of this difference is that grand juries can consider evidence that would otherwise be excluded at trial, such as evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. Similarly, a grand jury can consider hearsay evidence (evidence offered by someone who did not have personal experience with the subject matter of the testimony).
by: Paul Bergman
Proof & Defenses in Criminal Cases
Getting a Lawyer for your Criminal Case
Steps in a Criminal Defense Case
Arraignment: Your First Court Appearance
Plea Bargains (Deals) in a Criminal Case
Legal Elements of Common Crimes
Expungement & Criminal Records
Should I just plead guilty and avoid a trial?
Is the public defender a real lawyer?
Can I change defense lawyers after I've hired one?
How long after arrest do I find out what the charges are?
Does it matter whether a suspect is given the Miranda warning?
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