As the Committee of your Faculty requested to examine and report upon the essays submitted for the Annual Prize offered by the Law Academy, we desire to inform you that we have carefully read and compared the two essays which have been placed in our hands, one submitted under the nom de plume "Lawyer," and the other under that of "American," and that the result of our examination is as follows: —

1. We find that both essays are in form and substance excellent and very creditable to the Academy.

2. We find that, of the two, the essay signed "Lawyer" is the better, and evinces the greater labor and research and is worthy of the prize offered.

3. We, therefore, recommend that the prize offered by the Academy be awarded to the writer of the essay signed "Lawyer," whoever he may be.

Although in strictness, it does not fall within our province, we feel that we ought not to omit this opportunity of expressing our approval of the subject chosen for this year's prize essay. Not only is it extremely interesting, from an historical standpoint, but it is one of great practical importance. Since Mr. Furman Sheppard prepared his "Manual for Grand Juries" in 1875, of which but a few copies are now in existence, no work of any importance, which deals in a practical way with the Grand Jury System as it is in force in this Commonwealth, has been published. The essay to which we have recommended the award of this prize contains a vast amount of valuable information on the subject and with a few slight alterations and additions (incorporating the points decided by the Superior Court in the case of Commonwealth vs. Brown, which was decided after these essays were handed in) might be made a useful handbook for those concerned with practice in the Criminal Courts, and we suggest that the Academy, if it sees its way clear to do so, take steps to have it printed for the use of the Bar.



Philadelphia, May 11, 1904.


THIS essay was originally written with particular reference to the law relating to the grand jury in England, Pennsylvania and the United States Courts. After the committee by whom it was read had reported favorably upon it, the suggestion was made that its scope be enlarged so as to make the work applicable to all of the states. This suggestion was communicated to Judge Audenried, the Chairman of the Committee, and received his approval.

In effecting this change it has been found necessary to make few alterations in the text. So far as the common law principles relating to the grand jury are in force in the various states, the law and the decisions thereon are generally uniform. In such states as have adopted a code of criminal procedure, the common law principles relating to the grand jury constitute an important part of the code, and the decisions thereunder, in such instances, will be found to be in harmony with the decisions at the common law. Only where the common law has been superseded by statute do we find any material conflict in the decisions, and this is due, in large measure, to differences in the constitutions or statutes of the various states. By adding the citations of the state court decisions in the foot notes, with occasional additions to the text where the rulings of the courts may be regarded as of local application only, the author trusts the work has been made of more general utility than when originally submitted to the committee.

While the subject of juries has received careful attention from legal writers, and within the scope of their work the law as to grand juries has been considered fully, sufficient attention has not been given to the historical growth of the grand jury. In this essay the origin, history and development of the grand jury have been, therefore, considered at length. The history of the grand jury is closely interwoven with that of the petit jury, while the judicial records during its infancy are very meagre and confusing.

In tracing its historical development, much must be left to surmise, and this necessarily has resulted in conflicting opinions. Where doubt has arisen, the author has endeavored to present the reasons upon which his conclusions are based, and in all cases has sought to treat his subject in the light of the conditions which he conceives existed at the period of which he treats. To present the matter as clearly as possible, the method has been adopted of showing the character of trial awarded with relation to the manner of instituting the prosecution. By so doing, it becomes possible to trace the development of the grand jury separate and apart from the petit jury and thus the likelihood of confusing the action of these bodies in the early stages of their existence is in large measure avoided.

The author desires to express his thanks to Carlyle H. Ross, Esq., of the Philadelphia Bar, for his valuable assistance in the preparation of the index to this book.

He also acknowledges his appreciation of the criticism and suggestions of John M. Gest, Esq., and his obligation to Luther E. Hewitt, Esq., Librarian of the Law Association, for his interest in the preparation of this work.

G. J. E., JR.
March 20, 1906.

Text Version | Next | Top