Grand Jury Information
Grand jury service is quite different from service on a trial jury (sometimes called a “petit” jury). The following are some of the main differences:
- Grand juries decide whether there is enough evidence to charge a person with a crime. They do not decide whether the person is guilty of the crime. If the grand jury decides to charge the person with a crime and the case goes to trial, a trial jury will decide whether the person is guilty of the crime.
- A grand jury hears evidence only from the prosecutor, while trial juries hear from both the prosecutor and the defense.
- Grand jury proceedings are secret, while most trial jury proceedings are public.
- Grand juries are larger than trial juries. There are usually 18 persons on a grand jury, but only six or 12 on a trial jury (depending on the type of crime charged).
- Grand jurors typically serve longer terms than trial jurors (up to four months).
Serving on a grand jury allows you to take part in providing Alaska’s citizens with one of the most fundamental guarantees in the Alaska Constitution: the guarantee that a person will have to face serious criminal charges only if a panel of private citizens decides there is sufficient evidence to require that person to stand trial.
You do not need special experience, training, or education to serve on a grand jury, but you do need to be fair, impartial, and willing to keep an open mind.
For more information please see the Grand Jury Handbook
| Rev. 7 March 2013
© Alaska Court System
You'll need to download a free copy of
Adobe Acrobat Reader in order to view and print documents with this symbol. If you are using a screen reader, get support
and information at the Adobe Access website.