Ham Sandwiches and Grand Juries

There were 161,000 grand juries convened in this country in 2013.

Of them, there were only ELEVEN (that’s 11, NOT 1100) no indictments returned. That is effectively a 100% indictment rate.

That is why it was famously said that you can indict a ham sandwich.  Ham_sandwich

Do you know why there is a 100% indictment rate? Because prosecutors go in to get an indictment and they present a completely ONE SIDED case to the grand jurors.

It is not a trial to determine the defendant’s guilt or innocence. The prosecutor does not present exculpatory evidence. The prosecutor does not present witnesses that contradict their version of the case. And defendants RARELY testify. There is no upside for defendants to testify. Prosecutors present a completely one-sided case to motivate the grand jurors to find probable cause to bring a charge.

Grand jury presentations are focused and all have one objective: GET AN INDICTMENT.

That is what happens.


You aren’t trying to get an indictment.