2020 Georgia Code
Title 15 - Courts
Chapter 12 - Juries
Article 4 - Grand Juries
Part 1 - General Provisions
§ 15-12-74. Grand Jury Presentment of Offenses; Publication or Filing of Findings

Universal Citation: GA Code § 15-12-74 (2020)
  1. Grand jurors have a duty to examine or make presentments of such offenses as may or shall come to their knowledge or observation after they have been sworn. Additionally, they have the right and power and it is their duty as jurors to make presentments of any violations of the laws which they may know to have been committed at any previous time which are not barred by the statute of limitations.
  2. If a true bill is returned by the grand jury on any count of an indictment or special presentment, the indictment or special presentment shall be published in open court. If a no bill is returned by the grand jury on all counts of an indictment or special presentment, the prosecuting attorney shall file such indictment or special presentment with the clerk.

(Laws 1829, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 553; Code 1863, § 3828; Code 1868, § 3849; Code 1873, § 3917; Code 1882, § 4709; Penal Code 1895, § 830; Penal Code 1910, § 834; Code 1933, § 59-304; Ga. L. 2016, p. 186, § 2/HB 941.)

The 2016 amendment, effective July 1, 2016, designated the existing provisions of this Code section as subsection (a) and added subsection (b).

Cross references.

- Immunity of grand jurors from action for malicious prosecution, § 51-7-46.

Law reviews.

- For article discussing the grand jury's ability to indict the accused contrary to the findings of the preliminary hearing, see 13 Ga. St. B.J. 195 (1977). For article on the 2016 amendment of this Code section, see 33 Georgia St. U.L. Rev. 79 (2016).


Grand jury not bound by charge or presentment.

- Grand jury is not bound by the charge stated in order of the magistrate binding the defendant over, nor is the grand jury bound by presentment of district attorney but must make a separate determination as to what offenses have been committed. Johnson v. State, 242 Ga. 822, 251 S.E.2d 563 (1979).

Initiatory investigation restricted.

- Grand jury cannot subpoena a witness to testify as to the witness's general knowledge of violations of the penal laws when that body knows nothing of any fact or person connected with the offense. In re Lester, 77 Ga. 143 (1886).

Matter before grand jury sufficient for investigatory subpoena.

- Case against a certain individual whose correct name was unknown to the grand jury, and who was identified in the indictment as "Carlos (Last Name Unknown)," constituted a sufficient matter before the grand jury and authorized a subpoena for a reporter's testimony regarding the case. Vaughn v. State, 259 Ga. 325, 381 S.E.2d 30 (1989).

When presentment may be returned on unconnected offense.

- Special presentment may be returned if it appears from the testimony of a witness that an offense unconnected from the case under consideration has been committed. Oglesby v. State, 121 Ga. 602, 49 S.E. 706 (1905).

Authority of grand juror to impart knowledge of crime to other jurors.

- If grand jurors know of a crime, it is not in a legal sense unknown. The knowledge of one grand juror is the knowledge of the other grand jurors. Grand jurors in session should and do impart their knowledge of crimes to their associate grand jurors. The fact that a grand juror had promised not to disclose the juror's knowledge of the crime in no way relieved the juror from the duty imposed upon the jury by law to disclose it. Taylor v. State, 44 Ga. App. 64, 160 S.E. 667 (1931), cert. dismissed, 175 Ga. 642, 165 S.E. 733 (1932), overruled on other grounds, State v. Tyson, 544 S.E.2d 444 (Ga. 2001).

Writ of prohibition will not lie to prevent grand jury from doing its duty. Stynchcombe v. Hardy, 228 Ga. 130, 184 S.E.2d 356 (1971).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 38 Am. Jur. 2d, Grand Jury, § 36.


- 38A C.J.S., Grand Juries, § 88 et seq.


- Validity and construction of statute authorizing grand jury to submit report concerning public servant's noncriminal misconduct, 63 A.L.R.3d 586.

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