One of the recent headlines in the Chicago Sun Times read, “Cook County prosecutors steer clear of judges in gun cases.” Gun charges can wreak havoc on your life and in the lives of your loved ones, and as reported in this article, prosecutors purposely avoid judges and instead go to grand juries to ensure they will get indictments for gun charges.
The State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has actually ordered those prosecuting felony gun possession cases to present them to grand juries rather than go before a judge in a preliminary hearing. In Illinois, grand juries and judges can both decide if there is probable cause for a trial, but grand juries are notorious for agreeing with the prosecutor and issuing an indictment. Judges can be less predictable, so the state’s attorney has decided to bypass them altogether.
How Does a Grand Jury Operate?