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Members of the grand jury, welcome to the Circuit Court of Cook County. I want to thank each of you for the service you are about to perform.
At this time, I will instruct you on the function of the grand jury and the nature of the responsibilities you are about to undertake. In that connection, I will explain the law relating to the proper performance of your duties, and I will be giving each of you a printed copy of the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Law that deal with the grand jury and its proceedings.
A grand jury is a part of this Court. Its primary function is to hear and examine evidence concerning criminal offenses, and then to determine whether a person should be charged with the commission of an offense and face trial for it. The grand jury may also examine evidence of misconduct in public office, whether criminal or otherwise.
This grand jury will serve from today until one month from today. The Court may extend that period if both the grand jury and the prosecutor declare that the grand jury has not completed or will be unable to complete pending business before the date of its scheduled discharge.
As a preliminary matter, the law requires that I appoint a foreperson, and someone to act in the foreperson's place should he or she become unavailable. The duty of the foreperson is to chair the sessions of the grand jury, to administer oaths to witnesses, and to sign documents that reflect grand jury action.
I have appointed Letty as foreperson, and Letty as acting foreperson.
Also, before you begin your duties, your first order of business must be to choose a secretary from among your members to keep the grand jury's records, including those relating to the attendance of the grand jurors, and the results of all grand jury votes.
Proceedings of a grand jury are not valid unless at least sixteen of its members are present.
Every affirmative official action or decision taken by the grand jury requires the concurrence of at least twelve of its members who have heard the evidence.
The evidence a grand jury hears and examines will consist principally of the sworn testimony of witnesses. The prosecutor may call as a witness in a grand jury proceeding any person he or she believes possesses relevant information or knowledge.
Before testifying, the witness must take an oath which may be administered by the foreperson or any other grand juror.