2021 Georgia Code
Title 15 - Courts
Chapter 12 - Juries
Article 4 - Grand Juries
Part 1 - General Provisions
§ 15-12-61. Number of Grand Jurors; Votes Necessary for Indictment or Presentment; Alternate Grand Jurors; Report on Preceding Grand Jury by Foreperson or Clerk

Universal Citation: GA Code § 15-12-61 (2021)
  1. A grand jury shall consist of not less than 16 nor more than 23 persons. The votes of at least 12 grand jurors shall be necessary to find a bill of indictment or to make a presentment. Three alternate grand jurors may be sworn and, subject to the maximum number fixed in this subsection, may serve when any grand juror dies, is discharged for any cause, becomes ill, or is for other cause absent during any sitting. Alternate grand jurors may serve as members of inspection and examination committees with the same authority and responsibilities as grand jurors and without regard to the maximum limitation on the number of grand jurors fixed herein. However, nothing in this Code section shall limit the authority of a judge of the superior court to replace a grand juror.
  2. The grand jury shall be authorized to request the foreperson of the previous grand jury to appear before it for the purpose of reviewing and reporting the actions of the immediately preceding grand jury if the succeeding grand jury determines that such service would be beneficial. While serving a succeeding grand jury, the foreperson of the immediately preceding grand jury shall receive the same compensation as other members of the grand jury. Any person serving as foreperson of a grand jury and then requested to report to an immediately succeeding grand jury shall not be eligible to again serve as a grand juror for one year following the conclusion of such earlier service.

(Laws 1799, Cobb's 1851 Digest, p. 547; Ga. L. 1869, p. 139, § 5; Code 1873, § 3914; Code 1882, § 3914; Penal Code 1895, § 812; Penal Code 1910, § 812; Code 1933, § 59-202; Ga. L. 1967, p. 590, § 1; Ga. L. 1978, p. 906, § 1; Ga. L. 1979, p. 676, § 1; Ga. L. 1994, p. 607, § 3; Ga. L. 2001, p. 4, § 15; Ga. L. 2011, p. 59, § 1-27/HB 415.)

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2011, p. 59, § 1-1/HB 415, not codified by the General Assembly, provides: "This Act shall be known and may be cited as the 'Jury Composition Reform Act of 2011.'"


Grand jury larger than maximum size.

- Findings of grand jury composed of over 23 persons are void. Evans v. State, 17 Ga. App. 120, 86 S.E. 286 (1915).

Grand jury was properly comprised.

- Trial court did not err in failing to grant the defendant a new trial on the ground that the grand jury was composed of 25 people in violation of O.C.G.A. § 15-12-61(a) since the claim was waived, and the trial court found as a fact that the grand jury was properly comprised. Daly v. State, 285 Ga. App. 808, 648 S.E.2d 90 (2007), cert. denied, 2007 Ga. LEXIS 659 (Ga. 2007), cert. denied, 553 U.S. 1039, 128 S. Ct. 2441, 171 L. Ed. 2d 241 (2008).

Re-convening did not require re-swearing.

- Although alternate jurors were substituted during the January term of court, the defendant pointed to no evidence that the January grand jury was ever formally discharged from the jury's duties prior to the end of the grand jury's term, thus, it continued to act within the jury's term of court and remained empowered to act until the last day of the jury's term and did not need to be re-sworn prior to returning to the defendant's second indictment. Durden v. State, 299 Ga. 273, 787 S.E.2d 697 (2016).

Failure of some jurors to vote on indictment.

- If the indictment showed that all 23 grand jurors voted on the indictment when, in fact, two of the grand jurors were not present and did not vote, the criteria of O.C.G.A. § 15-12-61 was met since the defendant did not show that more than two of the 23 persons on the grand jury did not vote, and it was assumed that the remaining 21 members voted to find a bill of indictment. Ellis v. State, 181 Ga. App. 630, 353 S.E.2d 822 (1987).

Cited in Davis v. State, 72 Ga. App. 347, 33 S.E.2d 728 (1945); Woodring v. State, 130 Ga. App. 247, 202 S.E.2d 696 (1973); Echols v. State, 255 Ga. 311, 338 S.E.2d 259 (1986).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 38 Am. Jur. 2d, Grand Jury, § 13.


- 38A C.J.S., Grand Juries, § 55.


- Validity of indictment as affected by substitution or addition of grand jurors after commencement of investigation, 2 A.L.R.4th 980.

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