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234 Pa. Code Rule 222. Composition and Organization of the investigating Grand Jury.

Rule 222. Composition and Organization of the investigating Grand Jury.

 (A)  There shall be impaneled initially to serve on an investigating grand jury 23 legally qualified jurors and a minimum of 7 and not more than 15 legally qualified alternates. During its term, the investigating grand jury shall consist, as provided hereinafter, of not less than 15 nor more than 23 legally qualified jurors, and the remaining alternates.

 (B)  When an investigating grand jury is to be impaneled and more than 30 persons attend for service and qualify, the judge in charge of the grand jury shall excuse a sufficient number of persons to reduce the panel to not more than 23 persons plus the minimum of 7 but not more than 15 alternates. After prospective grand jurors have been excused for cause, the reduction to the minimum of 30 or maximum of 38 shall take place by random drawing in the following manner: 30 to 38 jurors shall be selected by random drawing, of which the first 23 jurors so selected shall be designated permanent grand jurors and the next 7 to 15 jurors shall be designated alternate jurors 1, 2, 3, and so on to a minimum of 15.

 (C)  Alternate jurors shall attend sessions of the grand jury but they may not participate in the preparation of any reports or presentments, nor in the deliberations and voting, until such time as they may be appointed as permanent grand jurors as provided in paragraph (D).

 (D)  The court shall have the power to permanently excuse a permanent or alternate grand juror for cause at any time during the term of the investigating grand jury. For each such excused permanent grand juror, the court shall appoint a new permanent grand juror from among the available alternates.

 (E)  Fifteen permanent members of the grand jury shall constitute a quorum, but an affirmative vote of 12 permanent members of the grand jury shall be required to adopt a report or issue a presentment.

 (F)  Whenever the number of permanent grand jurors, including alternates who have been appointed to replace permanent grand jurors, becomes less than 15, the term of the investigating grand jury shall be considered at an end.

 (G)  The court shall appoint one of the grand jurors as foreman. The grand jury shall select one of its members as a secretary to assist the foreman in keeping a record of the action of the grand jury.


   The initial number of jurors impaneled should be at least 30, but no more than 38, to accommodate the minimum of 7 and maximum of 15 alternate jurors. See 42 Pa.C.S. §  4545(a) (investigating grand jury shall have a minimum of 7 and not more than 15 alternates).

   The alternate jurors are impaneled with the permanent grand jurors and hear all testimony, but are excluded from taking part in or from being present at deliberations, votes, or preparation of presentments or reports.

   If, prior to the impaneling of the investigating grand jury, the number of prospective grand jurors initially summoned falls below the minimum needed to seat permanent and alternate grand jurors by reason of excuses for cause, additional prospective grand jurors are to be summoned in the manner provided in these rules. See Rule 221. Any grand jurors already selected to serve on the investigating grand jury must remain.

   The term ‘‘permanent grand juror’’ is used to distinguish grand jurors with the power to vote from alternate grand jurors. The purpose of providing a built-in system of alternates is to assure the smooth functioning of the grand jury throughout its term and to provide that alternates, when made permanent grand jurors, will be fully cognizant of all the proceedings before the grand jury. This provision provides the authority for substitution that was found lacking in Commonwealth v. Levinson, 389 A.2d 1062 (Pa. 1978).

   It is intended that no alternate may be appointed as a temporary substitute for a permanent grand juror, and that the court will excuse permanent grand jurors only when necessary and in the interests of justice. However, whenever a permanent juror is excused for cause and an alternate is available to become a permanent grand juror, the court must substitute an alternate for the excused permanent grand juror. It is intended that such substitution be made in the order of the alternate jurors’ numerical designation.

   Official Note

   Rule 253 adopted June 26, 1978, effective January 9, 1979; amended October 22, 1981, effective January 1, 1982; amended August 12, 1993, effective September 1, 1993; renumbered Rule 222 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; amended October 17, 2002, effective January 1, 2003.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Report explaining the August 12, 1993 amendments published at 22 Pa.B. 3826 (July 25, 1992).

   Final Report explaining the March 1, 2000 reorganization and renumbering of the rules published with the Court’s Order at 30 Pa.B. 1477 (March 18, 2000).

   Final Report explaining the October 17, 2002 amendments concerning the number of alternate grand jurors published with the Court’s Order at 32 Pa.B. 5407 (November 2, 2002).


   The provisions of this Rule 222 amended October 17, 2002, effective January 1, 2003, 32 Pa.B. 5406. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (264152) to (264156).

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