LegalSpeak: Tennessee Rule of Criminal Procedure on Grand Juries

Trial Process Read more from
Chapter Criminal Procedures


  • (a) Formation of the Grand Jury.

    • (1) Formation at a Regular Term.
      On the first day of each term of court at which a grand jury is required to be impaneled, the judge of the court authorized by law to charge the grand jury and to receive its report shall direct the names of all the qualified jurors in attendance for the criminal courts of the county to be written on separate slips of paper and placed in a box or other suitable receptacle and drawn out by the judge in open court. The foreperson and the twelve qualified jurors whose names are first drawn constitute the grand jury for the term and shall attend the court until dismissed by the judge or until the next term.

    • (2) Formation at a Special Term.
      The judge presiding at any special term of the court may impanel a grand jury in the same manner and of the same powers as at a regular term….

    • (4) Oath of Grand Jurors.
      The following oath shall be administered to all members of the grand jury, including the foreperson:
      You as members of the grand jury do solemnly swear (or affirm) that you will diligently inquire, and true presentment make, of all offenses given you in charge, or otherwise brought to your knowledge, committed or triable within this county; that you will keep secret the state’s counsel, the other jurors’ and your own; that you will present no person from hatred, malice, or ill will, nor leave any unpresented through fear, favor, or affection, or for any reward, or the promise or hope thereof, but that you will present the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, according to the best of your skill and understanding. So help you God.

    • (5) Charge to the Grand Jury.
      After the grand jury has been impaneled and sworn, the judge shall instruct it concerning its powers and duties and the relevant law….

  • (d) Powers of the Grand Jury.
    The grand jury has inquisitorial powers over-and has the authority to return a presentment-of all indictable or presentable offenses found to have been committed or to be triable within the county. At all proper hours, the grand jurors are entitled to free access to all county offices and buildings and to examine, without charge, all records and other papers of any county officers in any way connected with the grand jurors’ duties.

  • (e) Duties of the Grand Jury.
    It is the duty of the grand jury to:

    • (1) inquire into, consider, and act on all criminal cases submitted to it by the district attorney general;

    • (2) inquire into any report of a criminal offense brought to its attention by a member of the grand jury;

    • (3) inquire into the condition and management of prisons and other county buildings and institutions within the county;

    • (4) inquire into the condition of the county treasury;

    • (5) inquire into the correctness and sufficiency of county officers’ bonds;

    • (6) inquire into any state or local officers’ abuse of office;and

    • (7) report the results of its actions to the court.


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