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Definition of an Indictment

In many legal drama series on television, there are instances when the prosecutor “convenes a grand jury” to secure an indictment, while in some episodes the case goes straight to the reading of the charges or the arraignment. What is an indictment and when does one need it?

An indictment is the formal allegation of a criminal act by the defendant before the accused person can actually be charged. In the US, an indictment is required for federal capital crimes or infamous crimes but optional for state capital crimes. A grand jury is similar to a trial jury except that it is comprised of 16 to 23 persons instead of 12. The grand jury will hear the what, when, where, how, and who of the case and decide if there is enough evidence for a charge.

A grand jury may sit for as long as 18 months, much longer than for a regular jury. To secure an indictment, at least 12 members should vote that the evidence supports one, and return a “true bill.” If not enough members vote for an indictment, they return a “no bill” on the indictment. In the latter case, the criminal case cannot proceed to trial. However, the prosecutor can choose to re-submit the case for consideration of the same grand jury or a different one, so a “no bill” does not mean the criminal charges are dropped.

When evidence is presented to a grand jury, the purpose is not to try the case, so the criminal defense lawyer is not allowed to participate. In most cases, the person or persons being accused of a crime or crimes do not testify before a grand jury, but they have the right to request to do so. Whether the request is granted or not will be the choice of the prosecutor.

It is in the interest of the accused to avoid an indictment because even if it is not a conviction, it is often enough to ruin a person’s reputation, especially for white collar crimes. The best way to do this is to say nothing when being investigated and to leave it to the criminal defense lawyer to work it out.

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The Importance of Court Reporters

Over the years, there has been a decline in the injury and death rates after the creation of the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA), the construction industry is still suffering from a significant amount of construction accident lawsuits. The construction industry one of the United States’ biggest industry, and as such, has one of the constantly high rates of reported workplace injuries. Despite the tight safety regulations that OSHA requires construction companies follow, it has little success in preventing or lowering the rates of injuries and deaths in construction workers. This is despite the fact that a major portion of OSHA’s resources is aimed in reinforcing the health and safety standards on construction sites.

Although construction accidents are covered with worker’s compensation, there are times where a lawsuit needs to be filed against the person at fault. Going to court can prevent the injured worker from receiving any worker’s comp, nevertheless winning a personal injury lawsuit would provide the right amount of compensation to help cover for the expenses and other damages that the accident and injuries caused, as well as reprimanding the person at-fault of the accident for their negligence.

Going to court would require you to have proper legal representations, as court proceedings can be complicated and long, with legal technicalities. Testimonies and cross examinations can be tiring and lengthy, and evidences will be presented. The documentation of these testimonies and evidence are made by the court reporters. Court reporters are tasked with recording and documenting the testimonies and arguments that occur during the court proceedings for preservation of the case for future use.

Construction accident lawsuits can be a long and tiring process, but it is important in order to make the personal at-fault for the accident and resulting injuries responsible for their negligence. Because constructions workers are exposed to a higher risk of injuries and health complication as compared to any other industry, it helps to have options such as worker’s compensation, settling personal injury lawsuits of going to court to help in covering the damages that a workplace accident caused.

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