Is A Judge Present At The Grand Jury?

No judge is present in the grand jury courtroom. Rather, there is a foreperson and a deputy foreperson selected by the Assignment Judge, State v. Ramseur, 106 N.J. at 236-238, who have the power to administer oaths and endorse all indictments (the deputy foreperson acts only in the absence of the foreperson). N.J.S.A 2A:73-4; R. 3:6-4. While in session, the only people who may be present in the grand jury room are the grand jury clerk, who keeps the minutes of the grand jury (R. 3:6-5), the grand jurors themselves, the prosecuting attorney(s), the witness under examination, an interpreter when needed, and a court stenographer. R: 3:6-4. Noticeably absent from that list is the attorney for the witness under examination, because that attorney is prohibited from appearing in the grand jury room with his or her client. See, e.g., Van Horn v. City of Trenton, 80 N.J. 528, 536 n.2 (1981). However, the witness must be afforded a reasonable opportunity to consult with his or her attorney, upon request by the witness. Therefore, it is recommended that attorneys instruct their witnesses to request an opportunity to speak with counsel waiting outside the grand jury room if the witness is concerned about a particular line of questioning. Alternatively, it is recommended that counsel advise their clients to come out from the grand jury room at regular time intervals (i.e.. every fifteen or twenty minutes) so that the witness may clear his or her head, consult with counsel about problem areas, and allow counsel to debrief his or her client more effectively and in a more timely fashion.

Often, a defense attorney’s first contact with his or her client is after the client has been arrested. The question tht inevitably arises at this stage is how the client ended up in this situation.

Contact our New Jersey criminal defense attorneys today, for a free initial consultation, call us today at (908) 561-5577 or contact us online.  Your initial consultation is free.

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