State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_15A > GS_15A-622

§15A‑622.  Formation and organization of grand juries; other preliminarymatters.

(a)        The mode ofselecting grand jurors and of drawing and impaneling grand jurors is governedby this Article and Chapter 9 of the General Statutes, Jurors. Challenges to thepanel from which grand jurors were drawn are governed by the procedure in G.S.15A‑1211.

(b)        To impanel a newgrand jury, the presiding judge must direct that the names of all personsreturned as jurors be separately placed in a container. The clerk must draw outthe names of 18 persons to serve as grand jurors. Of these 18, the first ninedrawn serve until the first session of court at which criminal cases are heardheld in the county after the following January 1, and thereafter until theirreplacements are selected and sworn. The next nine serve until the firstsession of court at which criminal cases are heard held in the county after thefollowing July 1, and thereafter until their replacements are selected andsworn. If this formula results in any term likely to be shorter than two monthsor longer than 15 months, the presiding judge impaneling the grand jury maymodify the terms. Thereafter, beginning with the first session of superiorcourt at which criminal cases are heard held in the county following January 1and July 1 of each year, nine new grand jurors must be selected in the mannerprovided above to replace the jurors whose terms have expired. All new grandjurors so selected serve until the first session of court at which criminalcases are heard held after January 1 or July 1 which most nearly results in a12‑month term, and thereafter until their replacements are selected andsworn. If a vacancy occurs in the membership of the grand jury, the superiorcourt judge next convening the jury or next holding a session of court at whichcriminal cases are heard in the county may order that a new juror be drawn inthe manner provided above to fill the vacancy.

The senior resident superiorcourt judge of the district may impanel a second grand jury in any county ofthe district to serve concurrently with the first. The second grand jury shallbe impaneled as provided in the first paragraph of this subsection. The courtshall continue to have two grand juries until the senior resident superiorcourt judge orders the second grand jury to terminate.

In any county the seniorresident superior court judge, if he finds that grand jury service is placing adisproportionate burden on grand jurors and their employers, may fix the termof service of a grand juror at six months rather than 12 months. In doing so,he shall prescribe procedures, consistent with this section, for replacement ofhalf of the jurors of the grand jury or grand juries approximately every threemonths.

(c)        Neither the grandjury panel nor any individual grand juror may be challenged, but a superiorcourt judge may:

(1)        At any time beforenew grand jurors are sworn, discharge them, or discharge the grand jury, andcause new grand jurors or a new grand jury to be drawn if he finds that jurors havenot been selected in accordance with law or that the grand jury is illegallyconstituted; or

(2)        At any time after agrand juror is drawn, refuse to swear him, or discharge him after he has beensworn, upon a finding that he is disqualified from service, incapable ofperforming his duties, or guilty of misconduct in the performance of his dutiesso as to impair the proper functioning of the grand jury.

(d)        The presiding judgemay excuse a grand juror from service of the balance of his term, upon his ownmotion or upon the juror's request for good cause shown. The foreman may excuseindividual jurors from attending particular sessions of the grand jury, exceptthat he may not excuse more than two jurors for any one session.

(e)        After theimpaneling of a new grand jury, or the impaneling of nine new jurors under theterms of this section, the presiding judge must appoint one of the grand jurorsas foreman and may appoint another to act as foreman during any absence ordisability of the foreman. Unless removed for cause by a superior court judge,the foreman serves until his successor is appointed and sworn.

(f)         The foreman andother new grand jurors must take the oath prescribed in G.S. 11‑11. Afternew grand jurors have been sworn, the presiding judge may give the grand jurorswritten or oral instructions relating to the performance of their duties. Atsubsequent sessions of court, the presiding judge is not required to give anyadditional instructions to the grand jurors.

(g)        At any time when agrand jury is in recess, a superior court judge may, upon application of theprosecutor or upon his own motion, order the grand jury reconvened for thepurpose of dealing with a matter requiring grand jury action.

(h)        A written petitionfor convening of grand jury under this section may be filed by the districtattorney, the district attorney's designated assistant, or a special prosecutorrequested pursuant to G.S. 114‑11.6, with the approval of a committee ofat least three members of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys,and with the concurrence of the Attorney General, with the Clerk of the NorthCarolina Supreme Court. The Chief Justice shall appoint a panel of three judgesto determine whether to order the grand jury convened. A grand jury under thissection may be convened if the three‑judge panel determines that:

(1)        The petition allegesthe commission of or a conspiracy to commit a violation of G.S. 90‑95(h)or G.S. 90‑95.1, any part of which violation or conspiracy occurred inthe county where the grand jury sits, and that persons named in the petitionhave knowledge related to the identity of the perpetrators of those crimes butwill not divulge that knowledge voluntarily or that such persons request thatthey be allowed to testify before the grand jury; and

(2)        The affidavit setsforth facts that establish probable cause to believe that the crimes specifiedin the petition have been committed and reasonable grounds to suspect that thepersons named in the petition have knowledge related to the identity of theperpetrators of those crimes.

The affidavit shall be basedupon personal knowledge or, if the source of the information and basis for thebelief are stated, upon information and belief. The panel's order convening thegrand jury as an investigative grand jury shall direct the grand jury toinvestigate the crimes and persons named in the petition, and shall be filedwith the Clerk of the North Carolina Supreme Court. A grand jury so convenedretains all powers, duties, and responsibilities of a grand jury under thisArticle. The contents of the petition and the affidavit shall not be disclosed.Upon receiving a petition under this subsection, the Chief Justice shallappoint a panel to determine whether the grand jury should be convened as an investigativegrand jury.

A grand jury authorized bythis subsection may be convened from an existing grand jury or grand juriesauthorized by subsection (b) of this section or may be convened as anadditional grand jury to an existing grand jury or grand juries.Notwithstanding subsection (b) of this section, grand jurors impaneled pursuantto this subsection shall serve for a period of 12 months, and, if an additionalgrand jury is convened, 18 persons shall be selected to constitute that grandjury. At any time for cause shown, the presiding superior court judge mayexcuse a juror temporarily or permanently, and in the latter event the courtmay impanel another person in place of the juror excused. (1779,c. 157, s. 11, P.R.; R.C., c. 31, s. 33; 1879, c. 12; Code, ss. 404, 1742;Rev., ss. 1969, 1971; C.S., ss. 2333, 2336; 1929, c. 228; 1967, c. 218, s. 1;1973, c. 1286, s. 1; 1975, c. 166, s. 27; 1977, c. 711, s. 24; 1979, c. 177, s.1; 1981, c. 440, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 843, ss. 2, 6; 1987 (Reg.Sess., 1988), c. 1040, ss. 1, 3; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1039, s. 4; 1991,c. 686, ss. 1, 3; 1995, c. 362, s. 1.)