UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
For the Northern District of Illinois
GRAND JURY FOREPERSON'S HANDBOOK
The purpose of this handbook is to provide guidance and answers to the
new grand jury foreperson and deputy foreperson. Hopefully, it will make your new
leadership role easier to manage and understand. The information contained herein will not
simply be a duplication of that contained in the "Handbook for Grand Jurors",
which is an attempt to explain grand jury duty and it's inherent responsibilities and
duties in more general terms. This handbook will be more technical in nature concerning
the day to day aspects of managing a grand jury.
ROLE OF THE GRAND JURY
A grand jury is a group of 16-23 individuals drawn at random from the
citizen’s of this district. They are impaneled by order of the Chief Judge of this
Court. Their role as an independent body is to inquire into alleged violations of the law
to ascertain whether the evidence presented by the government is sufficient to warrant a
trial by a petit jury or judge. The grand jury has broad investigative authority due its
ability to compel testimony, to order the production of documents and its power to indict.
The grand jury works with the U.S. Attorney’s office, but is not
controlled by that office. Authorization must be sought from the grand jury upon
impanelment for the issuance of subpoenas in the grand jury’s name. This
authorization should be in writing, voted on by the members of the grand jury and made
part of the official record of the grand jury. The scope of the authorization should be
discussed with the grand jury prior to the vote. Although an investigative agent assigned
to the case(s) will ordinarily serve the subpoenas, the Assistant U.S. Attorney in charge
of the case(s) usually drafts and/or approves them.
GRAND JURY SECRECY
It is the responsibility of each grand juror to maintain the secrecy of
the grand jury’s proceedings. In essence, that means that grand jurors should discuss
grand jury matters only within the grand jury’s meeting room. As foreperson, you
should be especially vigilant to insure that grand jurors do not discuss grand jury
matters in the grand jury reception area or in the corridors and elevators of the
courthouse. Feel free to remind grand jurors of the dangers of being overheard by others,
or, if you feel it appropriate, consult with the Jury Administrator.
As the Chief Judge instructed you, the secrecy obligation not only
applies during your service as a grand juror, but afterwards, as well. If asked in your
capacity as foreperson, you should advise the other grand jurors that they can only be
released from their permanent obligation to keep the grand jury’s proceedings secret
by order of a federal judge.
The foreperson and deputy foreperson are selected by the Chief Judge of
this Court. The deputy foreperson replaces the foreperson only in his or her absence. The
foreperson serves as manager of the group and plays an important role in keeping the panel
organized, efficient and well informed.
This position is designated by the foreperson either by a volunteer or
a vote of the group. The secretary’s duties are assigned by the foreperson. Theymay
include only the following:
1. Completion of the docket book
2. Ascertaining whether each juror has signed in.
3. Completion of the grand jury utilization sheet.
One of the foreperson's first and most important roles is to make sure
that there are at least 16 grand jurors in attendance at each meeting. Although each grand
jury is made up of 23 members, without 16, even for a moment, no business can be
conducted. There are several procedures that will help you with this task. First, as
is explained in each initial orientation, make sure that each member informs you when they
have future plans to be absent. Examples of this type of absence would be vacation plans,
unchangeable medical appointments and emergency situations at work. It is each jurors
responsibility to report these plans to you. It is your responsibility to record them on
the provided "scheduling calendar". When a jury member approaches you regarding
an absence, look at this as a request and not an automatic excuse. Review your calendar
each week with the entire group and discuss the number of absences that are planned for
the near and distant future. This procedure will allow both you, the other grand jurors
and the jury staff to know how many jurors will be off on any given meeting day and allow
the group to assess future plans. Take great care in allowing too many jurors off on any
particular day as last minute emergencies do occur and should be considered in your
planning. (No more than three pre-excused absences is a good rule of thumb.) If it appears
that you will not have a quorum on any particular meeting day you must inform the Jury
The jury department counsels each grand jury panel when they are
impaneled that they must call their foreperson for those days that they can not come in.
If the juror knows in advance, they should inform you at their earliest possible
convenience. Consequently, each grand juror should have the foreperson's and deputy's
telephone numbers so they may call to report absences. If the jury member can not reach
you or your deputy, they are instructed to call the jury department's number, 312-435-5684
to report last minute absences. You should counsel your members that last minute absences
should be avoided if at all possible.
If a member does not inform you or the jury department of their absence
in advance, they will be sent a letter from the jury office informing them that they
missed a session. They are instructed to call our office immediately to inform us of any
problem they may be encountering which keeps them from diligent service. The flag that
sets this process in motion is the sign-in sheet. If there is no signature or
"excused" and your initials or ours, the letter will be mailed the following
Signing in each meeting day is critical since this is the only way the
jury department will know who is in attendance. The sign-in sheet is given to the jury
department the morning after the previous day's session. If a juror has not signed in,
they will not be paid for that day. Backtracking is not impossible but usually difficult.
Also, if a juror leaves early or arrives late without the pre-approval of the foreperson,
the foreperson has the authority to instruct the jury department to pay that juror for
only one half day or $20.00. This should be noted on the sign-in sheet as well as any
change of addresses.
It should also be emphasized by you that each juror report in a timely
manner both in the morning and upon their return from the lunch break. If, after a warning
from you, a particular juror is consistently tardy, please report this to the Jury
Administrator so that further action may be taken.
PERMANENT EXCUSE OF GRAND JURY MEMBERS
At some point during the term a juror may seek permanent excuse from
the grand jury panel. The proper procedure is as follows:
1. The Jury Administrator should be notified by the foreperson that a
juror is requesting to be excused.
2. A letter from the grand jury member should be submitted to the Chief
Judge requesting to be excused and the reason(s) why. If the reason pertains to a medical
problem, a doctor's statement must be provided. If the excuse is sought due to employment
problems, a letter from the employer should be submitted at the same time.
3. The letter(s) will be forwarded to the Chief Judge for his or her
review. The judge may ask to speak to the juror prior to making a decision. The juror will
be expected to continue to attend all grand jury sessions until they receive approval for
their permanent excuse, usually by mail, except in cases of dire medical emergency.
4. Except in cases of medical emergency, it is likely that the juror
will not be excused until the next alternate grand juror replacement can be notified and
scheduled to appear.
ALTERNATE GRAND JURORS
When an original grand jury member is excused from further service by
the Chief Judge, the next alternate juror is contacted from the list created on
impanelment day. Generally, the Court will allow no juror to be permanently excused until
the replacing alternate has been contacted and will appear at the next meeting so that
quorum problems do not arise. The exception to that rule would be a medical emergency. The
jury department will notify you on the sign-in sheet that a new juror will be joining the
panel that day. Please make sure that the new juror still has the orientation materials
and has read through them. If additional copies are required, please call the jury
department at 435-5684. The foreperson should remind the new member about the procedures
involved with the call-in system.
PROBLEMATIC JURY MEMBERS
From time to time during the life of a grand jury certain problems
inevitably arise such as jurors who fall asleep during a session, those who ask
inappropriate questions, jurors who chronically arrive late in the morning or from lunch
breaks, and those who hold side conversations during the presentations. All of these
issues should be handled by the foreperson with the exception of the question issue. ( The
Assistant U.S. Attorney presenting the particular case is responsible for supervising
questions. Some districts require a juror to first ask the question through the Assistant,
however we feel that jurors are responsible enough to make that decision in most
circumstances. If a juror is unsure about whether a question is proper, he may first ask
it of the Assistant U.S. Attorney. )
If you are unable to resolve any issue personally with a juror, you
should report the problem to the Jury Administrator. He or she will decide if they can
handle the problem or whether the Chief Judge is required to become involved.
It is the prerogative of the grand jury foreperson to recommend the
dismissal of any grand jury member for due cause. A letter from you, addressed to the
Chief Judge, should be delivered to the Jury Administrator. The letter should detail the
reasons why you feel that dismissal is necessary, attempts you have made to remedy the
problem(s) and how long the problem(s) has existed. The Chief Judge may wish to discuss
the matter further with you prior to his or her decision. The juror will then be notified
PERSONAL PROBLEMS OF GRAND JURY MEMBERS
If a grand jury member is concerned about serving on the grand jury and
the foreperson or the Jury Administrator can not remedy the situation, the Chief Judge
will discuss the issues with the juror. In order to request such a meeting, the juror
should call the Jury Administrator who will arrange the appointment with the Judge.
Depending on the issue, the Judge may request a meeting with the foreperson as well.
LEGAL REQUIREMENTS AND PROCEDURES
A grand jury consists of 23 members. There must be a quorum of at least
16 jurors present, one of whom must be the foreperson or deputy foreperson . If one of the
two officers must be excused permanently, a recommendation for a replacement from the
current panel members may be made to the Chief Judge by the current foreperson. If both
officers happen to be absent a temporary foreperson must be sworn in prior to beginning
any meeting. In either instance, please notify the grand jury coordinator as soon as
possible so that the paperwork can be prepared immediately.
Do not, under anycircumstances, conduct any business without
an officer (foreperson or deputy) or less than 16 members present. It is your
responsibility as foreperson to make sure a quorum is present at all times and that there
are no unauthorized persons in the grand jury room. A failure to do so may invalidate an
otherwise valid indictment.
The concurrence of 12 or more jurors is required for a "True
Bill" to be returned. A hand or voice vote may be taken. If the government presents a
proposed indictment for a vote and fewer than 12 jurors concur, then a "No Bill"
is returned. Only the foreperson (or deputy in the foreperson’s absence) may sign any
grand jury document relating to an indictment.
The foreperson (or deputy in his/her absence) is the only person
authorized to swear in witnesses.
Oath Of A Witness Before The Grand Jury
You do solemnly swear that in the testimony you are about to give
before this grand jury, you will speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the
truth, so help you God.
Oath Of An Interpreter Before The Grand Jury
You do solemnly swear that you will, to the best of your skill and
ability, interpret the oath to be administered to this witness from the English language
to the ___________ language and the questions to be propounded from the English language
to the ___________ language, and answers from the ___________ language to the English
language, so help you God.
DISCHARGE & EXTENSION ORDERS
Just as an impanelment order was required to summon the grand jury
originally, at the end of the grand jury panel’s term (90 days for a regular panel
and 18 months for a special panel) a discharge order will be prepared by the Justice
Department and signed by the Chief Judge. This document officially ends the work of that
particular grand jury.
As explained to you during the orientation process, if your grand jury
panel has any cases which are technically incomplete at that time, they will likely be
transferred to another sitting grand jury or a new one.
Shortly before the termination date of your panel, the Justice
Department may discuss the possibility of extending the term of your panel. The only
reason that this may be an important issue for you and the panel to consider is that you
may be very close to the indictment phase of the investigation(s). At this point it may be
counterproductive to re-present the case(s) to another grand jury panel. Consequently, if
the Justice Department feels that a short extension of time would allow them to finish the
case(s), normally within 90 days, AND a majority of the members agree, an extension order
will be prepared for the Chief Judge’s signature.
The remaining members may not be expected to appear on a weekly basis,
but only a few times during the extension period. The members will be provided a letter of
explanation and scheduled meeting dates for their employers. The call-in system will
continue to be at your disposal for final instructions.
Those jurors who do not wish to extend their service may be excused at
the end of the term. No alternates will be provided, so as a result, there must be at
least 16 members who wish to continue and hopefully more so that emergencies and vacations
may be taken into consideration.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST ISSUES
At some point during the panel’s term of service you may be
approached by a member of the panel who feels that they know a named defendant, witness,
agent, or Assistant. U.S. Attorney. Or, they may be familiar with the case in a personal
way either through a work relationship or a personal one. This should be brought to the
attention of the Assistant U.S. Attorney handling the investigation immediately.
Although it may not automatically exclude this grand juror from
service, it is a decision for the Chief Judge to make. Upon being notified, the Assistant
will discuss the matter with the Chief Judge who may wish to speak directly with the panel
member. Based on the Chief Judge’s findings the juror may be excused from further
service, excused from hearing evidence in that particular investigation only, or remain as
a member during the presentation of that case.
Although the Court does allow grand jurors to take notes in this
district, a few simple guidelines are required. All notes will be taken on court supplied
notebooks. These notebooks are stored before and after each meeting in a suppressed area
of the courthouse for safekeeping. All notebooks must be collected at the end of each day
and during the lunch break. It is very important that notebooks
not be removed from the grand jury room, except by authorized personnel. Consequently,
a reminder from the foreperson at the end of each day’s session should insure that
notebooks are not removed or left in the meeting room accidentally.
If a juror requires additional notebooks, they may be obtained from the
grand jury coordinator in room 1625. Please make sure that the juror’s name and grand
jury title are on each notebook. If more than one is used by a juror, the books should be
numbered. When a notebook is no longer required during the sessions, it can be retired and
kept in the suppressed area until the grand jury panel completes it’s business and is
discharged. Each juror must let the jury department know when they no longer need a
particular notebook. This can be accomplished by writing on the face of the notebook with
a large black marker "NO LONGER REQUIRED" and juror’s signature.
If a notebook has been retired, but is needed for future meetings the
juror may simply ask for it. All notebooks are destroyed only upon the completion of the
grand jury’s term.
If at any time it appears that you do not have a quorum, report the
situation and who is unaccounted for to the grand jury coordinator immediately. This
situation occurs rarely and must be avoided if at all possible, but it is usually caused
by unexpected absences in the morning. The grand jury coordinator will notify the jury
department who will attempt to locate the missing juror(s) by telephone.
If the jury department is unsuccessful in locating the missing
juror(s), the session will be canceled for the day. This decision is made by agreement
between the Jury Administrator and the Chief of the Criminal Division of the Justice
Department. All grand jurors present will be paid for the entire day.
As you might imagine, this circumstance causes hardship on all involved
including all grand jury members, assistants who have time and witnesses scheduled or have
a time sensitive indictment pending, and employers who may have made substitution
It is incumbent upon you as the foreperson to emphasize the importance
of notifying you in advance of any preplanned absences or the jury department if an
emergency arises on the day of the scheduled meeting.
PAYROLL AND TAX ISSUES
Paychecks are issued once a month. The cut-off is the last meeting of
the month, or the last Thursday which may begin the next month. Grand juries meet on
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday each week. If, for example, the Thursday grand jury meets
on May 1st, the cut-off will be on that date for the month of April. The paperwork is
completed in the jury office on Friday and set to the fiscal department, which is in the
courthouse. Within three business days the checks are returned to the jury department for
mailing or personal distribution. If the grand jury panel is in the courthouse on the day
we receive the checks, we will deliver them to the grand jury room. The same is true if a
grand jury panel will be in within two days. Otherwise, the checks are mailed to the
address we have on file. It is important that if a name and/ or address change is made
during the term of service that the jury department is notified on the sign-in sheet.
If a juror’s check is lost or stolen, the juror must write a
letter addressed to the Clerk of Court indicating the circumstances if known , the dates
the juror served, and finally asking for the check to be replaced. This process can take
as long as 8-12 weeks.
If a juror’s employer requires an interim statement proving his or
her employee’s attendance, the grand jury coordinator is authorized to issue an
A 1099 form is issued only to those grand juror’s who make more
than $600.00 for that reporting year. This figure does not include fees received for
mileage. This form should be used in preparing your state and federal income taxes. If a
juror does not reach the $600.00 mark, no 1099 form will be issued. This means that the
juror should use their subvouchers included in their paychecks to calculate their
additional income for tax purposes. If the employer requires a copy of the subvoucher, the
original should be retained by the juror.
There are no statutes which require an employer to pay an employee for
time spent on jury duty.
They are required by statute to allow an employee to serve and shall
not " discharge, threaten to discharge, intimidate, or coerce any permanent employee
by reason of such employee’s jury service, or the attendance or scheduled attendance
in connection with such service, in any court of the United States." Any employer who
violates the provisions of that section faces very serious penalties which will be
enforced through the Justice Department and the district court.
If a juror feels that they have been terminated from their employment
due to his or her jury service, the Jury Administrator should be notified immediately by
telephone and in writing.
The daily fee for jurors is $40.00. After 45 days of actual service, a
grand juror will receive $50.00 per day, an increase of $10.00.
CALL-IN SYSTEM- WEATHER/FLOOD & MASS TRANSPORTATION EMERGENCIES
During the initial orientation the court’s call-in system is fully
explained. As a review for your reference, the system works as follows:
By 12 noon the day preceding your scheduled meeting day, the jury
department receives a schedule from the Justice Department. This schedule is reviewed by
the Jury Administrator and the Chief Judge to determine whether a full day is scheduled.
At 12 noon the recording is placed on the call-in system advising grand jurors whether
they will be required to report the following day including the reporting time. If a grand
jury is canceled, the recording will furnish this information also. When a grand jury
panel is canceled it simply means that it is canceled for that one session and will very
likely meet the following week on the usual scheduled day.
Each grand juror is responsible for calling in to determine whether
they will be meeting the following day. The call-in system accepts calls from the
following area codes only: 312, 773, 630, 847, 815, and 708 (unless additional area codes
are added to the district). If a juror is outside those areas codes, the juror can either
have someone else within those codes call for them or they can call the jury department
during business hours and after 12 noon at 312-435-5684. If a particular grand jury panel
is canceled and a juror appears because they have neglected to call in advance, the juror
will not be paid for that day.
In the event of serious weather conditions, flood or a mass
transportation disruption, please advise the grand jurors to call the jury department
before leaving their homes for the courthouse. The number is 312-435-5684. The jury
department is usually open by 7:30 A.M.. They will take your telephone number and ask you
to stay home until it is determined how many jury members have a problem appearing. If it
appears that a quorum is unlikely, the session will be canceled and the jury department
will call all jurors back for notification. If there is no answer in the jury department
you may leave a message on voice-mail and your call will be returned.
TIME UTILIZATION AND QUALITY CONTROL
The Court is very interested in making sure that
the time of the grand jury is not wasted and that everything is being done to make your
time with us as efficient and comfortable as possible. One of the ways we accomplish this
is by the use of the utilization report. By comparing this report with the schedule
provided by the Justice Department, the Jury Administrator can alert the Chief judge on
any reoccurring scheduling problems.
When an Assistant U.S. Attorney schedules time he/she is responsible
for that time whether they use it or not. If they cancel their time slot at the last
minute, they must attempt to fill that slot or explain to the panel why that time was not
used. Please keep in mind that last minute problems do arise, however the Court and the
Justice Department try very hard to limit these problems.
From time to time the jury department may send out a Grand Jury
Questionnaire for each member to complete. This may be scheduled into the grand
jury’s day so that mailing back and forth is eliminated. These questionnaires are
reviewed by the Chief judge, the Clerk of Court and the Jury Administrator. The purpose of
the questionnaire is to gather information about each grand juror’s thoughts about
their service in this Court. The questionnaire may be anonymous or if there are issues
that require a response the juror’s name should appear on the questionnaire.
The court attempts to make your stay with us a comfortable one. One of
the problems that we have not been able to solve is the ventilation system in the grand
jury meeting rooms. As the warmer months progress the entire building becomes very warm in
certain areas, so we suggest that jurors layer their clothing.
Supplying coffee in the morning has been somewhat problematic at times.
At times, many members drink all of the coffee provided but on other days coffee remains
at the end of the day. It is difficult to predict from week to week and group to group.
There have been inquires about decaf coffee, tea and soup. Our budget, provided by you the
taxpayer, is limited. We do the best that we can.
If you or any other grand jury member have any questions, comments or
recommendations relating to your grand jury service feel free to contact the Jury