Rule 556.11. Proceedings When Case Presented to Grand Jury.
(A) A grand jury has the authority to:
(1) inquire into violations of criminal law through subpoenaing witnesses and documents; and
(2) based upon evidence it has received, including hearsay evidence as permitted by law, or upon a presentment issued by an investigating grand jury, if the grand jury finds the evidence establishes a prima facie case that (1) an offense has been committed and (2) the defendant has committed it, indict defendant for an offense under the criminal laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; or
(3) based upon evidence it has received, including hearsay evidence as permitted by law, or upon a presentment issued by an investigating grand jury, if the grand jury finds the evidence establishes a prima facie case that (1) an offense has been committed and (2) the person other than the defendant in the matter originally presented to the indicting grand jury has committed it, indict the individual for an offense under the criminal laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but only if the offense arises from the same criminal conduct or episode that gave rise to the original referral to the indicting grand jury; or
(4) decline to indict.
(B) After a grand jury has considered the evidence presented, the grand jury shall vote whether to indict the defendant or the person other than the defendant who has been identified as having committed an offense as provided in paragraph (A)(3). The affirmative vote of at least 12 grand jurors is required to indict.
(C) In cases in which the grand jury votes to indict, an indictment shall be prepared setting forth the offenses on which the grand jury has voted to indict. The indictment shall be signed by the grand jury foreperson, or deputy foreperson if the foreperson is unavailable, and returned to the supervising judge.
(D) Upon receipt of the indictment, the supervising judge shall:
(1) provide a copy of the indictment to the Commonwealth authorizing the attorney to prepare an information pursuant to Rule 560; and
(2) forward the indictment to the clerk of courts.
(E) If the subject of the indictment has not been arrested on the charges contained in the indictment, upon receipt of a copy of the indictment, the attorney for the Commonwealth shall file a complaint with the clerk of courts of the judicial district in which the indicting grand jury sits, and shall request the supervising judge issue an arrest warrant.
(1) The indictment shall be used in lieu of the affidavit of probable cause.
(2) The supervising judge shall issue an arrest warrant.
(F) At the request of the attorney for the Commonwealth, the supervising judge shall order the indictment to be sealed.
(G) In cases in which the grand jury does not vote to indict, the foreperson promptly and in writing shall so report to the supervising judge who immediately shall dismiss the complaint and shall notify the clerk of courts of the dismissal.
Nothing in this rule is intended to preclude the investigating grand jury, when sitting as an indicting grand jury and as part of its determination of whether to indict, from considering evidence already presented to it during an investigation.
When the grand jury votes to indict the defendant, the vote to indict is the functional equivalent of holding the defendant for court following a preliminary hearing. In these cases, the matter will proceed in the same manner as when the defendant is held for court following a preliminary hearing. See, e.g., Rules 547 and 560.
The indictment required by paragraph (C) no longer serves the traditional function of an indictment, but rather serves as an instrument authorizing the attorney for the Commonwealth to file an information. See Rule 103.
Concerning hearsay evidence before the indicting grand jury, see Commonwealth v. Dessus, 224 A.2d 188 (Pa. 1966).
This rule was amended in 2018 to clarify that a person who has not been previously charged may be indicted. A case must be properly before the grand jury as provided in Rule 556.2. If during the course of that grand jury proceeding, it is determined that a prima facie case exists that an offense has been committed by an individual who is not the defendant in the case that was originally presented to the indicting grand jury, that individual may be indicted. However, the offense for which this new defendant has been indicted must be related to the same criminal conduct or episode that originally resulted in the case being referred to the indicting grand jury. Thereafter, the attorney for the Commonwealth must file a complaint and a request that an arrest warrant be issued as provided in paragraph (E). The filing of this complaint marks the beginning of the time period for speedy trial under Rule 600. See Rule 556.13 for the procedures following the execution of an arrest warrant issued following indictment.
In cases in which the grand jury has declined to indict and the complaint has been dismissed, the attorney for the Commonwealth may reinstitute the charges as provided in Rule 544.
New Rule 556.11 adopted June 21, 2012, effective in 180 days; amended November 27, 2018, effective March 1, 2019.
Committee Explanatory Reports:
Final Report explaining the new rule published with the Courts Order at 42 Pa.B. 4153 (July 7, 2012).
Final Report explaining the November 27, 2018 amendment regarding the issuance of indictment of non-defendants published with the Courts Order at 48 Pa.B. 7632 (December 15, 2018).
The provisions of this Rule 556.11 adopted June 21, 2012, effective in 180 days, 42 Pa.B. 4140; amended November 27, 2018, effective March 1, 2019, 48 Pa.B. 7626. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (361847) to (361848).
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