The proceedings of a grand jury aren’t valid unless at least sixteen of its members are present. An indictment’s finding, a direction to file a prosecutor’s information, a decision to submit a grand jury report, and really every other affirmative official action or decision actually requires at least twelve members to concur. The foreman or any other grand juror can administer an oath to a witness who’s appearing before the grand jury. Also, during the deliberations and voting of a grand jury, only the grand jurors are allowed to be present in the grand jury room. During other proceedings, the following people, in addition of course to witnesses, may also be present: the DA, a clerk or other public servant who’s been authorized to assist the grand jury in the administrative conduct of the proceedings, a stenographer who’s been authorized to record the proceedings of the grand jury, and an interpreter. On the request of the grand jury, the prosecutor needs to provide an interpreter to interpret the testimony of any witness who doesn’t speak English well enough to be understood. This interpreter must, if they haven’t before taken the constitutional oath of office, first take an oath in front of the grand jury that they’ll faithfully interpret the testimony of the witness and that they’ll keep secret all matters before the grand jury within their knowledge.
When a person being held in official custody’s a witness before a grand jury, a public servant who’s been assigned to guard them during their grand jury appearance can accompany them in the grand jury room. Said public servant must, if they haven’t previously taken the constitutional oath of office, first take an oath in front of the grand jury that they will keep secret all matters in their knowledge.
As for a social worker, rape crisis counselor, psychologist or other professional providing emotional support to a child witness twelve years old or younger who’s called to give evidence in a grand jury proceeding that concerns a crime defined in the penal law provided that the district attorney consents, that support person must not provide the witness with an answer to any question, or else otherwise participate in the proceeding, and must first take an oath in front of the grand jury that they will keep secret all of the matters before the grand jury in their knowledge.
On the request of a deaf or hearing-impaired grand juror, the prosecutor must provide a sign language interpreter for said juror. This interpreter must be present during all of the proceedings of the grand jury that the deaf or hearing-impaired grand juror attends, including deliberation and voting. The interpreter must, if they haven’t previously taken the constitutional oath of office, first take an oath in front of the grand jury that they’ll faithfully interpret the testimony of the witnesses and the statements of the prosecutor, judge, and grand jurors. That they’ll keep secret all of the matters before said grand jury in their knowledge, and won’t seek to influence the deliberations and voting of the grand jury.
It’s important to understand the intricacies of the New York state law in all cases, but especially when it comes to grand juries, so you can be sure that you’re ready no matter what your situation is. So if you’re facing charges, or would like to make sure that you’re protected should charges ever be leveled against you, you can count on the years of experience that Joseph Potashnik and Associates, PC offer, with an experience that’s sure to illuminate for you the complexities of New York state law without overwhelming you.
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