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Grand+Jurors+++Burden+of+Proof - 939.8 for returning an...

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Grand Jurors’ Burden of Proof Some members of a Grand Jury have experienced doubts as to the nature of their exact responsibility and duty in criminal proceedings. It is not the function of the Grand Jury to determine the issue of guilt or innocence. If an indictment is returned, the eventual prosecution, acquittal or conviction, and possible punishment are the responsibilities of others who are sworn to that duty. Penal Code Section 939.8 provides the standard for an indictment: "The Grand Jury shall find an indictment when all the evidence before it, taken together, if unexplained or uncontradicted, would, in its judgment, warrant a conviction by a trial jury." The California Supreme Court, in Cummiskey v. Superior Court (1992) 3 Cal.4th 1018,1026, has explained that the standard of proof under section
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Unformatted text preview: 939.8 for returning an indictment is "probable cause." The Supreme Court wrote: "It is the Grand Jury's function to determine whether probable cause exists to accuse a defendant of a particular crime. In other words, the Grand Jury serves as part of the charging process of criminal procedure, not the adjudicative process that is the province of the courts or trial jury." Citing a previous case, Lorenson v. Superior Court (1950) 35 Cal.2d 49, 56 and 57, the Cummiskey Court defined probable cause: "'Probable cause' means such a state of facts as would lead a man of ordinary caution or prudence to believe, and conscientiously entertain a strong suspicion of the guilt of the accused. 'Reasonable and probable cause' may exist although there may be some room for doubt."...
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