Rather than a bulwark against "hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution," today's federal grand jury is too often a rubber stamp, leading many to agree that "a good prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich."
NACDL calls upon Congress to halt the dangerous erosion and abuse of the federal grand jury and enact the modest proposals outlined in our Federal Grand Jury Reform Report & "Bill of Rights."
Among the critical, workable reforms detailed in that report are:
(1) the right to counsel for grand jury witnesses who are not receiving immunity;
(2) an obligation to present evidence which may exonerate the target or subject of the offense; and
(3) the right for targets or subjects to testify.
- Reform Proposals
- Reform Report and Bills of Rights (2000)
- New Mexico Court Imposes Pre-Indictment Mechanism that Enables Investigation Targets to Alert Grand Jury to Exculpatory Evidence (January 2009)
Webinar - Reexamining the Grand Jury: Prosecutors, Police, and Race
The grand jury has long drawn criticism for failing to serve its purpose as a shield against unwarranted charges. Recently a new charge has been leveled: that prosecutorial influence over the grand jury permits law enforcement misconduct to go unpunished. Both facets of the issue will be discussed in turn by two distinguished panels of experts. The first panel addressed Due Process & the Grand Jury: Protecting Targets and Witnesses and the second panel examined Equal Justice & the Grand Jury: Achieving Racial Fairness.
Report - Evaluating Grand Jury Reform in Two States: The Case of Reform
NACDL issued a groundbreaking new report on restoring and reforming the grand jury system-- Evaluating Grand Jury Reform in Two States: The Case for Reform. This research reflects an in-depth study of grand jury reform in two states – New York and Colorado. In conducting this study, researchers Erin Crites, Jon Gould and Colleen Shepard of the Center for Justice, Law & Society at George Mason University studied the experiences of prosecutors, defense lawyers and retired judges. Four key reform recommendations emerge from the research: (i) defense representation in the grand jury room, (ii) production of witness transcripts for the defense, (iii) advance notice for witnesses to appear, and (iv) the presentation of exculpatory evidence to the grand jury.
Cross-Examination Trial Pack
NACDL’s new Cross-Examination Trial Pack includes three of our best-selling Cross-Examination resources: “Damage Control: Situational Cross-Examination Techniques Trial Guide”, "Ultimate Cross 2.0: Audio Recordings & Written Materials" and "Sample Cross-Examination Questions."
This masterful collection of cross-examination resources provide countless tips, techniques and strategies for a variety of criminal case-specific scenarios. Learn to cross-examine a variety of trial witnesses!
Death Investigation: Forensic Pathology in the Courtroom and Cause & Manner of Death (2022)
This unique program provides criminal defense lawyers with an accurate and clear overview of forensic pathology and the countless factors to consider in a death investigation and will methodically explain what happens during an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death.
You'll uncover the different types of medicolegal death investigations, what to request from your MDI expert, quality benchmarks for accreditation and certification, guidelines and standards, common terminology and frequently asked questions.
The Psychology of Persuasion & Storytelling for Criminal Defense Lawyers
This Trial Resource Guide is a masterful collection of practical tips, techniques and strategies focused solely on using the arts and sciences of persuasion to improve your storytelling skills at trial.
You'll learn how to master the ability to communicate with juries, deliver powerful openings and closings, perform convincing cross-examinations, use effective courtroom choreography and non-verbal communication, identify and develop the optimal theme and theory for your case, and offer compelling arguments during mitigation and sentencing.
Zealous Advocacy in Sexual Assault & Child Victims Cases (2022)
Defending charges of sexual assault and child abuse can be daunting — but with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be.
Every year, NACDL identifies the hottest topics and most pressing issues when defending these cases, and brings-in nationally-renowned lawyers and experts to help you prepare for battle. This year’s 13th Annual Defending Sex Cases training program is our best yet; packed with topics and speakers you won’t want to miss!