Document Type



The New Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure: II, 56 Yale Law Journal 197 (1947)


The Grand Jury. In approximately half the States as well as in England
use of the grand jury as an investigative body," and of grand jury
indictment as a step in prosecution, has been largely abandoned.
This old institution has, however, been retained in federal practice
pretty much in the traditional common law form. The new Rules do
not change this as, indeed, they could not in view of the constitutional
guaranty that no federal prosecution for a "capital, or otherwise infamous"
crime (in practice, any felony) shall be had save on "presentment
or indictment" by a grand jury. The extensive use of federal
grand juries for investigative purposes would, moreover, militate
against any curtailment of their powers in this respect even if such
action were within the Supreme Court's power to prescribe "rules of
pleading, practice, and procedure." The place of grand juries in the federal apparatus of investigation-which includes legislative committees
and administrative agencies similarly endowed with subpoena
power, as well as prosecuting attorneys and police officers-is accordingly
unaltered, and since most of the common federal offenses are
felonies, the process of indictment will continue as a routine step in the
initiation of most prosecutions.

Date of Authorship for this Version



criminal procedure, federal