TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The grand jury system returns to Shawnee County this Monday.
District Attorney Chad Taylor says the first group will be empaneled Monday, July 29. They'll begin hearing cases August 7th.
A law passed this year allows Taylor to implement grand juries for low end felony cases, like thefts, forgeries and burglaries. The grand jury will review evidence and decide whether the case proceeds to trial. It would replace the preliminary hearing, where a judge hears testimony from witnesses, who must come to court in person, often several times if things are delayed.
Taylor says, with the grand jury, prosecutors won't have to inconvenience witnesses and take up court time. Prosecutors will be able to get the case in front of the grand jury and get it moving through the system, instead of allowing the cases to stall and sit, sometimes for years.
The 15-member grand jury will meet once a week for six months. Taylor expects they'll be able to clear 20 cases a day initially, more than 50 a day once they're familiar with the process. He says the number of preliminary hearings held in a day isn't close to that.
Preliminary hearings would still be the procedure used for more serious felonies, such as homicide and rape.