If you are indicted for committing a federal crime in Eastern Tennessee, a prompt, skillful response can increase your chances for a favorable outcome. A criminal defense attorney with prior experience in East Tennessee federal indictments will be able to implement a number of strategies during the pre-trial phase that may result in dismissed or mitigated charges, and may even circumvent the need to go to trial.
Federal Indictments in Eastern Tennessee
While the requirements for grand jury indictments differ from state to state, the Constitution states that the federal government cannot bring felony charges against any citizen without first obtaining an indictment from a grand jury. This protection is in place to prevent United States citizens from being arbitrarily accused without just cause; on the other hand, if you are in fact indicted, you can bet that the federal prosecutors have been doing their homework and are fairly confident in their case against you.
Federal Grand Juries in East Tennessee
Generally speaking, federal indictments are determined by a grand jury within the district or division where the alleged crime(s) took place. In the case of East Tennessee federal indictments, these are determined by a grand jury of 23 individuals impaneled by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee. In most cases, a grand jury is not summoned to deliberate on your case alone, but instead, jurors serve terms of approximately 18 months, during which they convene in private about once a month to deliberate on a number of federal cases within the District Court’s jurisdiction.
The grand jury does not attempt to determine guilt or innocence, but instead only decides whether there is probable cause to formally accuse you of the crime in question. In most cases, grand juries do not hear from the defendant or his/her attorney, but only from the federal prosecutors who present their accumulated evidence against you. The grand jury may also call witnesses and investigate other aspects of the case during its deliberations.
How The Grand Jury Indicts you
While a trial jury must decide guilt or innocence by unanimous vote, a grand jury only requires a simple majority of 12 or more to indict you, with a minimum of 16 jurors present to constitute a quorum. If the grand jury decides there is sufficient reason to charge you, they will endorse the indictment as a “true bill,” after which a warrant is issued for your arrest. If the jury decides the evidence is insufficient, they will return an endorsement of “no bill,” and the case proceeds no further.
Our Experience with Federal Indictments in East Tennessee
Federal indictments usually move toward trial more quickly than state charges, which means it’s in your best interests to hire a criminal defense attorney who is skilled in defending federal cases—even more preferably, one who has prior experience with the court rules and procedures of the District Court handling your case. As a member attorney in good standing with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Marcia Shein is highly experienced in responding to East Tennessee federal indictments, and can provide proven expertise in developing an effective defense strategy to the charges against you.