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William & Mary Bill of Rights





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The grand jury is a "much maligned" organ of the criminal justice system.' Regularly employed in only about half of the states and grudgingly tolerated in the federal system,2 the American grand jury for two centuries has been criticized as costly, ineffective, overly-compliant, and redundant. Prescriptions have ranged from reforms designed to improve the grand jury's performance of its traditional filtering and charging functions to the outright abolition of the grand jury. Consequently, much of the scholarly defense of the grand jury seemingly has done little more than attempt to justify its very existence.

This Article seeks to take the grand jury on the offensive. Instead of merely proposing ways to enhance the grand jury's performance of traditional roles, or defending it against calls for its elimination, this Article sketches a blueprint for the grand jury's functional makeover. Despite its tattered reputation, the American grand jury boasts an impressive resume, demonstrating capability far beyond the circumscribed functions it is deemed to perform so poorly today. By illuminating the novel and important functions the ancient "bulwark" of liberty might perform in the modem criminal justice system, this Article paints a portrait of an efficacious and relevant twenty-first-century grand jury.



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