Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2008

Publication Source

Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology


This Article advocates for the creation of a Grand Jury Legal Advisor (GJLA) to resurrect the historical autonomy of grand juries. The Article draws upon Hawaii's experiences with the GJLA, and incorporates survey responses from a representative sample of former GJLAs.

The Article begins with a general and historical overview of the grand jury process. This portion of the Article demonstrates how all three branches of government have contributed to the diminishment of the powers of grand jurors. Part IV of this Article discusses the important policy rationales underlying the need for grand jury autonomy; Part V recommends the implementation of a GJLA to re-establish that independence. Finally, Part VI reviews the potential advantages and disadvantages of employing GJLAs, including possible benefits to federal prosecutors.

This Article concludes that the GJLA strengthens the traditional role of the grand jury as a shield against unwarranted government accusations while still permitting grand jurors, prosecutors, and witnesses to perform their long-established functions. Moreover, the Article asserts that incorporating the GJLA, which has seen considerable success in both Hawaii and the military, throughout the federal court system would allay fears that the grand jury is merely a tool of the prosecutor. Finally, contrary to the false assumptions of some observers, the GJLA could potentially aid federal prosecutors without unduly slowing the indictment process.

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Document Version

Published Version


This document has been made available for download by permission of the publisher.

Reprinted by special permission of Northwestern University School of Law and the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.

Permission documentation is on file.


Northwestern University School of Law





Place of Publication

Evanston, IL