Chapter 2939: GRAND JURIES

2939.01 Grand jury definitions.

The definition of "magistrate" set forth in section 2931.01 of the Revised Code applies to Chapter 2939. of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.01

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.02 Grand jury selection and composition.

Grand juries shall consist of fifteen persons who satisfy the qualifications of a juror specified in section 2313.17 of the Revised Code. Persons to serve as grand jurors in the court of common pleas of each county shall be selected from the persons whose names are contained in the annual jury list .

At the time of the selection of the persons who are to constitute the grand jury, the commissioners of jurors shall randomly draw from the annual jury list the names of not fewer than twenty-five persons. The first fifteen persons whose names are drawn shall constitute the grand jury, if they can be located and served by the sheriff, and if they are not excused by the court or a judge of the court. If any of the first fifteen persons whose names are so drawn are not located or are unable to serve and are for that reason excused by the court or by a judge of the court, whose duty it is to supervise the impaneling of the grand jury, the judge shall then designate the person whose name next appears on the list of persons drawn, to serve in the place of the person not found or excused and shall so continue to substitute the names of the persons drawn in the order in which they were drawn, to fill all vacancies resulting from persons not being found or having been excused by the court or the judge of the court, until the necessary fifteen persons are selected to make up the grand jury. If all of the names appearing on the list of persons drawn are exhausted before the grand jury is complete, the judge shall order the commissioners of jurors to draw such additional names as the judge determines, and shall proceed to fill the vacancies from those names in the order in which they are drawn.

The judge of the court of common pleas may select any person who satisfies the qualifications of a juror and whose name is not included in the annual jury list to preside as foreperson of the grand jury, in which event the grand jury shall consist of the foreperson so selected and fourteen additional grand jurors selected from the annual jury list.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.02

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.81, HB 268, §1, eff. 5/22/2012.

Effective Date: 10-01-1984

2939.03 Grand juror drawing, notification, exemptions.

Except for a foreperson selected by the judge of the court of common pleas under section 2939.02 of the Revised Code, a grand jury is drawn and notified in the same manner as other jurors are drawn and notified under Chapter 2313. of the Revised Code. Grand jurors so drawn and notified are not entitled to an exemption for any reason but may be excused from service or have their service postponed for the same reasons and in the same manner as other jurors under that chapter and not otherwise. Grand jurors are subject to the same fines and penalties for nonattendance and otherwise as are other jurors under that chapter. The duties and the powers of courts of common pleas, clerks of courts of common pleas, and commissioners of jurors in regard to grand jurors in all respects are the same as in regard to other jurors.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.03

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.81, HB 268, §1, eff. 5/22/2012.

Effective Date: 04-16-1998

2939.031 Additional or alternate jurors.

When it appears to the judge impaneling a grand jury that the inquiry is likely to be protracted, or upon direction of the judge, an additional or alternate juror shall be selected in the same manner as the regular jurors in the inquiry are selected. The additional or alternate juror shall be sworn and seated near the jury, with equal opportunity for seeing and hearing the proceedings, shall attend the inquiry at all times and shall obey all orders and admonitions of the court or foreman. When the jurors are ordered kept together, the alternate juror shall be kept with them. The additional or alternate juror shall be liable as a regular juror for failure to attend the inquiry or to obey any order or admonition of the court or foreman. He shall receive the same compensation as other jurors, and except as provided in this section shall be discharged upon the final submission of the bill to the foreman.

If before the final submission of the bill to the jury, a juror dies or is discharged by the judge or foreman due to incapacity, absence, or disqualification of such juror, the additional or alternate juror, upon order of the judge or foreman, shall become one of the jury and serve in all respects as though selected as an original juror during the absence or incapacity of an original juror.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.031

Effective Date: 10-14-1953

2939.04 Compensation - prohibition of repeated service in same term.

The compensation of grand jurors shall be fixed by resolution of the board of county commissioners, not to exceed forty dollars for each day's attendance, payable out of the county treasury. Except in counties of less than one hundred thousand population according to the last federal census, in which counties the judge of the court of common pleas shall make rules in the judge's own county applicable to subsequent grand juror and petit juror service, a person who has served as a grand juror at a term of court is prohibited from serving again, either as a grand juror or petit juror, in that jury year in which the service is rendered or in the next jury year. The person is entitled to a certificate of excuse or postponement in the same manner as a petit juror. The court of common pleas may order the drawing of a special jury to sit at any time public business requires it.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.04

Effective Date: 04-16-1998

2939.05 [Repealed].

Cite as R.C. § 2939.05

Effective Date: 09-11-1961

2939.06 Oath or affirmation of grand jurors.

(A) When a grand jury is impaneled, the court of common pleas shall appoint one of the members of the grand jury as foreperson, and shall administer, or cause to be administered, to the jurors an oath in the following words to which the jurors shall respond "I do solemnly swear" or "I do solemnly affirm" :

"Do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will diligently inquire into and carefully deliberate all matters that shall come to your attention concerning this service; and do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will keep secret all proceedings of the grand jury unless you are required in a court of justice to make disclosure; and do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will indict no person through malice, hatred, or ill will; and do you solemnly swear or affirm that you will not leave unindicted any person through fear, favor, or affection, or for any reward or hope thereof; and do you solemnly swear or affirm that in all your deliberations you will present the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, according to the best of your skill and understanding, as you shall answer unto God or under the penalties of perjury?"

(B) If, on or after the effective date of this amendment, a court impaneling a grand jury uses the grand juror's oath that was in effect prior to the effective date of this amendment instead of the oath set forth in division (A) of this section, the court's use of the former oath does not invalidate or affect the validity of the impanelment of the grand jury, any proceeding, inquiry, or presentation of the grand jury, any indictment or other document found, returned, or issued by the grand jury, or any other action taken by the grand jury.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.06

Effective Date: 03-24-2003

2939.07 Charge of jurors by judge.

The grand jurors, after being sworn, shall be charged as to their duty by the judge of the court of common pleas, who shall call their attention particularly to the obligation of secrecy which their oaths impose, and explain to them the law applicable to such matters as may be brought before them.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.07

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.08 Grand jury duty after charge.

After the charge of the court of common pleas, the grand jury shall retire with the officer appointed to attend it, and proceed to inquire of and present all offenses committed within the county.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.08

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.09 Clerk - minutes.

The grand jury may appoint one of its members to be its clerk to preserve the minutes of its proceedings and actions in all cases pending before it. Such minutes shall be delivered to the prosecuting attorney before the jury is discharged.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.09

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.10 Prosecuting attorney to have access to grand jury.

The prosecuting attorney or assistant prosecuting attorney may at all times appear before the grand jury to give information relative to a matter cognizable by it, or advice upon a legal matter when required. The prosecuting attorney may interrogate witnesses before the grand jury when the grand jury or the prosecuting attorney finds it necessary, but no person other than the grand jurors shall be permitted to remain in the room with the jurors while the jurors are expressing their views or giving their votes on a matter before them. In all matters or cases which the attorney general is required to investigate or prosecute by the governor or general assembly, or which a special prosecutor is required by section 177.03 of the Revised Code to investigate and prosecute, the attorney general or the special prosecutor, respectively, shall have and exercise any or all rights, privileges, and powers of prosecuting attorneys, and any assistant or special counsel designated by the attorney general or special prosecutor for that purpose, has the same authority. Proceedings in relation to such matters or cases are under the exclusive supervision and control of the attorney general or the special prosecutor.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.10

Effective Date: 09-03-1986

2939.11 Official reporter.

The official reporter of the county, or any reporter designated by the court of common pleas, at the request of the prosecuting attorney, or any such reporter designated by the attorney general in investigations conducted by the attorney general, may take notes of or electronically record testimony before the grand jury, and furnish a transcript to the prosecuting attorney or the attorney general, and to no other person. The reporter shall withdraw from the jury room before the jurors begin to express their views or take their vote on the matter before them. Such reporter shall take an oath to be administered by the judge after the grand jury is sworn, imposing an obligation of secrecy to not disclose any testimony taken or heard except to the grand jury, prosecuting attorney, or attorney general, unless called upon in court to make disclosures.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.11

Amended by 129th General AssemblyFile No.127, HB 487, §101.01, eff. 9/10/2012.

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.12 Clerk of court to issue subpoenas for witnesses.

When required by the grand jury, prosecuting attorney, or judge of the court of common pleas, the clerk of the court of common pleas shall issue subpoenas and other process to any county to bring witnesses to testify before such jury.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.12

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.121 Employer may not penalize employee for being subpoenaed before grand jury.

No employer shall discharge or terminate from employment, threaten to discharge or terminate from employment, or otherwise punish or penalize any employee because of time lost from regular employment as a result of the employee's attendance at any proceeding before a grand jury pursuant to a subpoena. This section generally does not require and shall not be construed to require an employer to pay an employee for time lost resulting from attendance at any grand jury proceeding. However, if an employee is subpoenaed to appear at a grand jury proceeding and the proceeding pertains to an offense against the employer or an offense involving the employee during the course of his employment, the employer shall not decrease or withhold the employee's pay for any time lost as a result of compliance with the subpoena. Any employer who knowingly violates this section is in contempt of court.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.121

Effective Date: 09-26-1984

2939.13 Oath of witnesses.

Before a witness is examined by the grand jury, an oath shall be administered to him by the foreman of the grand jury or by the judge of the court of common pleas or the clerk of the court of common pleas, truly to testify of such matters and things as may lawfully be inquired of before such jury. A certificate that the oath has been administered shall be indorsed on the subpoena of the witness or otherwise made by the foreman of the grand jury, judge, or clerk certifying the attendance of said witness to the clerk of the court.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.13

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.14 Witness refusing to testify.

If a witness before a grand jury refuses to answer an interrogatory, the court of common pleas shall be informed in writing, in which such interrogatory shall be stated, with the excuse for the refusal given by the witness. The court shall determine whether the witness is required to answer, and the grand jury shall be forthwith informed of such decision.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.14

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.15 Contempt proceedings against witness refusing to testify.

If the court of common pleas determines that a witness before a grand jury is required to answer an interrogatory and such witness persists in his refusal, he shall be brought before the court, which shall proceed in a like manner as if such witness had been interrogated and refused to answer in open court.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.15

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.16 Sickness, death, discharge, or nonattendance of a grand juror.

In case of sickness, death, discharge, or nonattendance of a grand juror after the grand jury is sworn, the court may cause another to be sworn in his stead. The court shall charge such juror as required by section 2939.07 of the Revised Code.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.16

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.17 Summoning new grand jury - immunity of witnesses.

After the grand jury is discharged, the court of common pleas, when necessary, may order the drawing and impaneling of a new grand jury, which shall be summoned and returned as provided by section 2939.03 of the Revised Code and shall be sworn and proceed in the manner provided by sections 2939.06 to 2939.24 , inclusive, of the Revised Code. Whenever the governor or general assembly directs the attorney general to conduct any investigation or prosecution, the court of common pleas or any judge thereof, on written request of the attorney general, shall order a special grand jury to be summoned, and such special grand jury may be called and discharge its duties either before, during, or after any session of the regular grand jury, and its proceedings shall be independent of the proceedings of the regular grand jury but of the same force and effect.

Whenever a witness is necessary to a full investigation by the attorney general under this section, or to secure or successfully maintain and conclude a prosecution arising out of any such investigation, the judge of the court of common pleas may grant to such witness immunity from any prosecution based on the testimony or other evidence given by the witness in the course of the investigation or prosecution other than a prosecution for perjury in giving such testimony or evidence.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.17

Effective Date: 09-16-1970

2939.18 Secrecy of indictment.

No grand juror, officer of the court, or other person shall disclose that an indictment has been found against a person not in custody or under bail, before such indictment is filed and the case docketed, except by the issue of process.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.18

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.19 Testimony of grand juror.

No grand juror may state or testify in court in what manner any member of the grand jury voted or what opinion was expressed by any juror on any question before the grand jury.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.19

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.20 Concurrence by twelve grand jurors for indictment.

At least twelve of the grand jurors must concur in the finding of an indictment. When so found, the foreman shall indorse on such indictment the words "A true bill" and subscribe his name as foreman.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.20

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.21 Quarterly visits to county jail.

Once every three months, the grand jurors shall visit the county jail, examine its condition, and inquire into the discipline and treatment of the prisoners, their habits, diet, and accommodations. They shall report on these matters to the court of common pleas in writing. The clerk of the court of common pleas shall forward a copy of the report to the department of rehabilitation and correction.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.21

Effective Date: 07-06-1982

2939.22 Filing indictments with clerk of court of common pleas.

Indictments found by a grand jury shall be presented by the foreman to the court of common pleas, and filed with the clerk of the court of common pleas, who shall indorse thereon the date of such filing and enter each case upon the appearance docket and the trial docket of the term when the persons indicted have been arrested. The court shall assign such indictments for trial under section 2945.02 of the Revised Code, and recognizances of defendants and witnesses shall be taken for their appearance in court. When a case is continued to the next term of court, such recognizance shall require the appearance of the defendants and witnesses at a time designated by the court. Secret indictments shall not be docketed by name until after the apprehension of the accused.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.22

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.23 No indictment to be reported.

If an indictment is not found by the grand jury, against an accused who has been held to answer, such fact shall be reported by the foreman to the court of common pleas.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.23

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.24 Discharge of indicted person when no indictment returned.

If a person held in jail charged with an indictable offense is not indicted at the term of court at which he is held to answer, he shall be discharged unless:

(A) He was committed on such charge after the discharge of the grand jury.

(B) The transcript has not been filed.

(C) There is not sufficient time at such term of court to investigate said cause.

(D) The grand jury, for good cause, continues the hearing of said charge until the next term of court.

(E) It appears to the court of common pleas that a witness for the state has been enticed or kept away, detained, or prevented from attending court by sickness or unavoidable accident.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.24

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.25 Attendance of witnesses at foreign grand jury proceedings definitions.

As used in sections 2939.25 to 2939.29 , inclusive, of the Revised Code:

(A) "Witness" includes a person whose testimony is desired in any proceeding or investigation by a grand jury or in a criminal action, prosecution, or proceeding.

(B) "State" includes any territory of the United States and District of Columbia.

(C) "Summons" includes a subpoena, order, or other notice requiring the appearance of a witness.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.25

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.26 Compelling witnesses to attend by foreign courts.

If a judge of a court of record in any state which by its laws has made provision for commanding persons within that state to attend and testify in this state, certifies under the seal of such court that there is a criminal prosecution pending in such court, or that a grand jury investigation has commenced or is about to commence, that a person being within this state is a material witness in such prosecution or grand jury investigation, and that his presence will be required for a specified number of days, upon presentation of such certificate to any judge of a court of record in the county in this state in which such person is, such judge shall fix a time and place for a hearing and shall make an order directing the witness to appear at a time and place certain for the hearing.

If at a hearing such judge determines that the witness is material and necessary, that it will not cause undue hardship to the witness to be compelled to attend and testify in the prosecution or grand jury investigation in the other state, and that the laws of the state in which the prosecution is pending, or grand jury investigation has commenced or is about to commence, and of any other state through which the witness may be required to pass by ordinary course of travel, will give to him protection from arrest and the service of civil and criminal process, he shall issue a summons, with a copy of the certificate attached, directing the witness to attend and testify in the court where the prosecution is pending, or where a grand jury investigation has commenced or is about to commence, at a time and place specified in the summons. In any such hearing the certificate is prima-facie evidence of all the facts stated therein.

If said certificate recommends that the witness be taken into immediate custody and delivered to an officer of the requesting state to assure his attendance in the requesting state, such judge may, in lieu of notification of the hearing, direct that such witness be forthwith brought before him for said hearing. If the judge at the hearing is satisfied of the desirability of such custody and delivery, for which determination the certificate is prima-facie proof of such desirability, he may, in lieu of issuing subpoena or summons, order that said witness be forthwith taken into custody and delivered to an officer of the requesting state.

If the witness, who is summoned as provided in this section, after being paid or tendered by some properly authorized person the sum of ten cents a mile for each mile by the ordinary traveled route to and from the court where the prosecution is pending and five dollars for each day, that he is required to travel and attend as a witness, fails without good cause to attend and testify as directed in the summons, he shall be punished in the manner provided for the punishment of any witness who disobeys a summons issued from a court of record in this state.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.26

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.27 Certificate specifying number of days witness will be required.

If a person in any state, which by its laws has made provision for commanding persons within its borders to attend and testify in criminal prosecutions or grand jury investigations commenced or about to commence, in this state, is a material witness in a prosecution pending in a court of record in this state, or in a grand jury investigation which has commenced or is about to commence, a judge of such court may issue a certificate under the seal of the court stating these facts and specifying the number of days the witness will be required. Said certificate may include a recommendation that the witness be taken into immediate custody and delivered to an officer of this state to assure his attendance in this state. This certificate shall be presented to a judge of a court of record in the county in which the witness is found.

If the witness is summoned to attend and testify in this state he shall be tendered the sum of ten cents a mile for each mile by the ordinary traveled route to and from the court where the prosecution is pending, and five dollars for each day that he is required to travel and attend as a witness. A witness who has appeared in accordance with the summons shall not be required to remain within this state a longer period of time than the period mentioned in the certificate, unless otherwise ordered by the court. If such witness, after coming into this state, fails without good cause to attend and testify as directed in the summons, he shall be punished in the manner provided for the punishment of any witness who disobeys a summons issued from a court of record in this state.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.27

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.28 Witness not subject to arrest or the service of process.

If a person comes into this state in obedience to a summons directing him to attend and testify in this state, while in this state pursuant to such summons he is not subject to arrest or the service of process, civil or criminal, in connection with matters which arose before his entrance into this state under the summons.

If a person passes through this state while going to another state in obedience to a summons to attend and testify in that state or while returning therefrom, while so passing through this state he is not subject to arrest or the service of process, civil or criminal, in connection with matters which arose before his entrance into this state under the summons.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.28

Effective Date: 10-01-1953

2939.29 Construction and interpretation.

Sections 2939.25 to 2939.28 , inclusive, of the Revised Code shall be so interpreted and construed as to effectuate their general purpose, to make the law of this state uniform with the law of other states which enact similar uniform legislation.

Cite as R.C. § 2939.29

Effective Date: 10-01-1953