Grand juries allow prosecutors to subpoena witnesses who may not be cooperative, Hickman said.
Grand jury proceedings do not typically involve a judge, although there is a grand jury judge if there are questions that must be decided by a judicial official. There are 23 jurors, and like with typical trial proceedings, a defendant is not required to testify. If they do testify, they cannot have a lawyer with them, he said. Grand juries can be summoned within a week or 10 days, and can go into the midst of an investigation or after, Hickman said.
The State’s Attorney’s Office had the option to charge rather than go to the grand jury or charge prior to going to the grand jury. But DeLeonardo said his office doesn’t just “charge to charge.” There were obstacles to filing criminal charges because of the undetermined manner and cause of Amy Metz’s death, he said.