Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Grand Jury and the "No Bill" or "No True Bill"

Some time ago I did a post about a specific case I'm handling. This is a case where I was very upset by the behavior of the prosecutors.

I have very good news on this case. It was submitted to Grand Jury in the last couple of weeks. The Grand Jury returned what's known as a "No Bill" or "No True Bill". For those more interested in what that means in detail, I found a good article about Grand Jury and the No Bill.

That means the Grand Jury found no reasonable cause to believe my client committed the crime charged. As most people know, the standard for a "trial jury" is "beyond a reasonable doubt". The prosecution must prove that the defendant did commit the crime charged and must do so to such an extent that the jury has no reasonable doubt. Also, the prosecutor needs a unanimous verdict. The standard for a Grand Jury is much lower -- reasonable cause to believe is an extremely low standard, even lower than the "more likely than not" standard in a civil case. And the prosecutor doesn't need a unanimous Grand Jury -- only 12 out of 23 have to find reasonable cause.

Essentially then, a "No Bill" is a declaration of the defendant's innocence. If you haven't checked the post from before, this client spent 29 days in jail unjustly. His 5-year-old and 11-year-old daughter didn't see their father for 29 days. It's an outrage, and there will be more to come of this case.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

My son was murdered a little over a year ago in Texas, in my home town. A man was arrested and charged and when it went to the grand jury they no billed it. I don't understand how this happened and there was no doubt that my son was murdered. Can someone please explain to me how this happened and what if anything I can do about it. I am now raising two grandchildren because of this incident and they, as well as myself should see some sort of justice for my son's death.
The chief of police and the d.a. guaranteed me from the beginning that the guy wouldn't get off. How did this happen?

Albany Lawyer said...

I'm sorry to hear about your terrible loss. There is no way I can explain what happened in your case in grand jury. That's a question for the prosecutor.

Anonymous said...

I'm currently on a grand jury in NYS. A few days we ago we no-billed on a felony drug possession indictment, not because we felt there was not enough evidence to indict, but because we didn't want to ruin the defendant's life over a law we did not agree with. In other words, we invoked jury nullification. Which was inarguably our right. People such as yourself should talk openly and noisily about this right. The Grand Jury administrators and DAs are sure not going to.

Albany Lawyer said...

That is fantastic!! I did talk about this when I served on Grand Jury, and I discuss it with my clients.

eoin said...

Re: No Bill - don,t know the facts but is it possible the ADA "spoon fed" the grand Jury the No Bill ?

I've seen it done...No Bills are extremely rare but less rare when it's engineered by the ADA....maybe he (she) didn't have any faith in the case and didn't want to indict you're guy. ??

Albany Lawyer said...

I doubt it. A special prosecutor was appointed and I'm sure he did the best he could. It was not a good case for the prosecution. Larceny cases like this (from a store with poor record keeping) are very difficult to prove because the store can't really show money was missing.

In fact, our client was originally accused of stealing over $6,000. By the time they got to grand jury, they could only put about $2,000 and we don't think that was even missing. The store was just sloppy. And with poor controls, there's no way to prove who took any money that might have been missing. Could have been other employees, and at least one was genuinely suspicious.

Our client testified before the grand jury, and apparently testified well.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend and his friend was arrested for the same possion charge but his friend said they found a no true bill does that mean the same for my boyfriend

Albany Lawyer said...

That sounds like a good question for your boyfriend's lawyer.

Concerend said...

A few years back in a county below Albany, a grand jury returned a no true bill indictment, and the DA did not release the defendant, but kept him in Jail. A month later, they brought him to court, did not tell him why, and he found that there was a second grand jury assembled. The charges were increased, and this time, they returned true bill. Is this legal?

Concerend said...

I am aware of a situation where a grand jury was convened, and a new true bill was entered. The defendant was not released, but held. A second grand jury was convened a month later, charges were increased, and this person was brought to court. They found at at this time that they were brought there for a grand jury hearing. Although produced, they were left in an office and not allowed to testify in their own behalf. They indicted him. Can you clarify this process for me. Should the accused have been held? Should a second Grand jury have been convened after the no true bill. How does this work?

Albany Lawyer said...

It sounds dubious but it would really depend on the facts of the individual case. The defense lawyer on that case would be the best person to ask.

Concerend said...

I agree this sounds odd, and I'm not a lawyer, but I have recently read all of the paper work. One item that stands out to me is a copy of the transport ticket from jail to court for the first grand jury hearing and then the second transportation record for the second grand jury. So it did happen. Aside from this particular case, is this how it normally works, or should work. Trying to understand the true bill/no true bill rule and grand jury policies.

Anonymous said...

After the grand jury post a true bill and the defendent is indicted what happens next?

Albany Lawyer said...

Then it goes to County Court (in most of New York State) or Supreme Court in some areas. And the case goes forward from there.

Anonymous said...

What if they took things to the grand jury and they no billed it can the PA and County Commission and council member ask the State Patrol to do a inquire? If the State Patrol found nothing how and what can be done to stop them from the lies and rumors they are spreading

Albany Lawyer said...

You would have to ask a Pennsylvania lawyer.

dmuggay said...

its all about money... at then end of the day lawyers and judges are friends so they know how to get their clients off...

Anonymous said...

i was raped in july of last year.... i reported it and went to preliminary hearing and i just got a letter in the mail saying the jury returned a no true bill..... does that mean they both of the offenders are going to get away with it?

Albany Lawyer said...

This is a question you would have to ask the prosecutor.

Anonymous said...

i was recently no billed on a charge of inationating manufacturing meth i was not even home 5 min when they came to arrest my boyfriend for buying pills an then they searched my home an found some things that they say caused my arrest.they threw every thing i have ever owned in the trash all my pictures of my children an grand children an left me homeless . an now i was no billed an they say they are going to try on another date to charge me i was never charged with manufacturing in the first place how can they destroy my life this way an get away with it i begged them to let me have my pictures i told thim i didnt do anything to cause this now i cant afford an attroney to help how can they do this

Albany Lawyer said...

I have no good answer. The drug war sucks.

Anonymous said...

Then there's the cases where the police lie behind the closed door proceedings of the grand jury to help their buddy the wife beater and child abuser get out of 2 felonies. Grand Jury proceedings should have transparency and not be so "behind the scenes." There may be a relatively low requirement but there are times when they are getting it very wrong and in these cases they are setting dangerous criminals back out on the street to reoffend. In the cases where it is domestic violence, its a no brainer that such behavior will lead to the death of the victim by their ignorant decisions. When all evidence points to the crime having happened and a bunch of corrupt police officers from a small town good ole boys club dispute all of it, there should be someone overriding a grand jury's no bill of such a case. As it stands now, there is no way to force them to reconvene. The criminal gets away with it and whats worse, gets a "your innocent" badge to boast about. Its shameful and I really have no idea how anyone can be part of such a crooked system that delivers "justice" for some and usually not for the victims.

Anonymous said...

so if u go to jail for a crime and it comes back no true bill does that mean it will still be on your recored or on back ground checks?

Warren Redlich said...

It should not be on any record but ... The Feds and others may keep it anyway.

grrrrr_justsayin said...

I was charged with a felony 2 assault with a deadly weapon. Short version of it is my ex boyfriend who had been in jail for 6 months with a parole violation (he was arrested after chasing me from my home with my 14month old child in my arms while brandishing a knife screaming he would kill me for breaking up with him) he was not charged with anything, only received a parole violationfor that. 9 months later (1 month after he was released from that) he came into my house and refused to leave. It was winter he said he was cold and would leave once warm. I had a few people over and they left due to not wanting to be involved. I asked him to again leave after30 minutes and let himself out. I went to change for bed and he came to my room. I'd locked door and when he discovered this he broke door down and started beating me. I got away and ran to kitchen and I got a knife and screamed for him to leave. He again attacked me and received a small wound from the knife. He then left. I didn't have a phone and was scared to leave to get to a phone. He called police and I was arrested. I spent 40+ days in jail and end result was it was no billed. Can I have this reviewed under the Castle Doctrine and have the charge removed? This has made my life hell the last 4 ½ years. Professionally and personally. I live in Ohio.

Anonymous said...

I was charged with AA/DW in 2003 in Dallas county. This was a false accusation and I was no billed. The accusor did not go to court to testify before the grand jury.
I was no billed but this is still on my record, the arrest, the charge, and the no bill. I am in the process of trying to get it expunged. Is it not even supposed to be on my record? If its isn't, why is it
it is costing $2000 to have it expunged.