Facing South Carolina State Grand Jury Prosecution?
The South Carolina State Grand Jury investigates criminal allegations and
brings charges at the direction of the Attorney General’s office.
It has power to operate in all 46 counties. The current form of the state
grand jury was created by the legislature in 1989.
The primary focus is on cases involving multiple jurisdictions, such as
a criminal conspiracy spreading over multiple counties. They also target
cases involving public corruption, such as misconduct in office, election
fraud, environmental crimes, and securities fraud.
Many cases may be referred from county solicitors, although the Attorney
General’s office has the authority to initiate new cases on their
own. There are many important differences between a typical General Sessions
and a State Grand Jury case:
- Your first contact with the system may be the receipt of a state grand
jury subpoena. This means that you have been identified as either a potential
suspect or someone with some knowledge pertaining to a criminal investigation.
- Most criminal defendants in South Carolina are arrested after a Magistrate
judge issues an arrest warrant. The prosecutor’s office has usually
not been involved in the case at all up to that point. Grand jury cases
are different however. The prosecutor has been fully involved, meaning
that by the time an arrest is made they are already very prepared.
- Because the arrest doesn’t occur until after an indictment has been
issued, there is no right to a preliminary hearing (hearing to challenge
- Bond may be set higher than in other cases, and the judges may be more
willing to put additional restrictions on defendants than otherwise would
be routinely assigned in a regular county bond court. This may include
prohibitions on employment, travel, firearms possession, and limiting
access to financial accounts.
- Pre-trial discovery rulings by the court may limit the defendant’s
right to possess copies of the reports and other evidence documents turned
over by the state (called discovery). Defendants may be required to review
these materials only in their attorney’s office.
- There is a record of state grand jury proceedings (unlike regular grand
jury proceedings which are basically secret). The record is normally transcribed
by a court reporter, and those transcripts can be obtained by the defense.
- State grand jury cases are prosecuted by the Attorney General’s office,
not the county solicitor. Different policies between those agencies may
affect what defense strategies are employed, or what options there are
to negotiate reductions in the severity of charges or sentencing.
- Significantly more or higher-caliber resources may be expended by the state
in the investigation and prosecution of state grand jury cases. Top state
investigators, along with experts in fields such as forensic accounting
or sciences will be utilized by the prosecution instead of just relying
on the limited personnel of the local police department.
South Carolina criminal defense attorney James Snell has experience in
defending clients against a variety of white collar, public corruption,
drug, and other complex criminal charges. He has an extensive network
of investigators and experts that can be incorporated into your case to
locate, preserve, and present all necessary defense evidence. Representation
is available for state grand jury cases in every South Carolina county.
For a consultation involving any South Carolina state grand jury matter,
contact the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC by calling 1-888-301-6004.