In Minnesota, a grand jury is a group of 16 to 23 random individuals who privately decide whether there is enough evidence to indict, or charge, someone for a particular crime.
Grand jurors are selected at random from a fair cross section of qualified residents in a particular county.
The grand jury meets in secret, often several times during a period of one year. Under Minnesota law, grand juries must be summoned in felony cases which require a life sentence. Otherwise grand juries may be called at a prosecutor's discretion.
They listen to witness testimony previously conducted by prosectors. They can also ask witnesses additional questions.
Grand jurors also examine all evidence present, including video footage and documents.
All grand jurors are barred from divulging what happens in the jury room. And information about what grand jurors said or how they voted cannot be disclosed, except under court order.
While the grand jury is in session, testifying witnesses, prosecutors and court reporters are allowed in the room. However, only the grand jurors are allowed when deliberating, or voting.
An indictment, or a written formal charge, may be issued if at least 12 jurors agree that's sufficient evidence. The county attorney's office will then prosecute the case.
If the grand jury decides there is not sufficient evidence for an indictment, then they will issue a no bill and the case will be closed.