Code Section Group

Penal Code - PEN

PART 2. OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE [681 - 1620]

  ( Part 2 enacted 1872. )

TITLE 4. GRAND JURY PROCEEDINGS [888 - 939.91]

  ( Title 4 repealed and added by Stats. 1959, Ch. 501. )

CHAPTER 3. Powers and Duties of Grand Jury [914 - 939.91]

  ( Chapter 3 added by Stats. 1959, Ch. 501. )

ARTICLE 4. Conduct of Investigations [939 - 939.91]
  ( Article 4 added by Stats. 1959, Ch. 501. )

939.
  

No person other than those specified in Article 3 (commencing with Section 934), and in Sections 939.1, 939.11, and 939.21, and the officer having custody of a prisoner witness while the prisoner is testifying, is permitted to be present during the criminal sessions of the grand jury except the members and witnesses actually under examination. Members of the grand jury who have been excused pursuant to Section 939.5 shall not be present during any part of these proceedings. No persons other than grand jurors shall be permitted to be present during the expression of the opinions of the grand jurors, or the giving of their votes, on any criminal or civil matter before them.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 755, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1999.)

939.1.
  

The grand jury acting through its foreman and the attorney general or the district attorney may make a joint written request for public sessions of the grand jury. The request shall be filed with the superior court. If the court, or the judge thereof, finds that the subject matter of the investigation affects the general public welfare, involving the alleged corruption, misfeasance, or malfeasance in office or dereliction of duty of public officials or employees or of any person allegedly acting in conjunction or conspiracy with such officials or employees in such alleged acts, the court or judge may make an order directing the grand jury to conduct its investigation in a session or sessions open to the public. The order shall state the finding of the court. The grand jury shall comply with the order.

The conduct of such investigation and the examination of witnesses shall be by the members of the grand jury and the district attorney.

The deliberation of the grand jury and its voting upon such investigation shall be in private session. The grand jury may find indictments based wholly or partially upon the evidence introduced at such public session.

(Added by Stats. 1959, Ch. 501.)

939.11.
  

Any member of the grand jury who has a hearing, sight, or speech disability may request an interpreter when his or her services are necessary to assist the juror to carry out his or her duties. The request shall be filed with the superior court. If the court, or the judge thereof, finds that an interpreter is necessary, the court shall make an order to that effect and may require by subpoena the attendance of any person before the grand jury as interpreter. If the services of an interpreter are necessary, the court shall instruct the grand jury and the interpreter that the interpreter is not to participate in the jury’s deliberations in any manner except to facilitate communication between the disabled juror and the other jurors. The court shall place the interpreter under oath not to disclose any grand jury matters, including the testimony of any witness, statements of any grand juror, or the vote of any grand juror, except in the due course of judicial proceedings.

(Added by Stats. 1986, Ch. 357, Sec. 3.)

939.2.
  

A subpoena requiring the attendance of a witness before the grand jury may be signed and issued by the district attorney, his investigator or, upon request of the grand jury, by any judge of the superior court, for witnesses in the state, in support of the prosecution, for those witnesses whose testimony, in his opinion is material in an investigation before the grand jury, and for such other witnesses as the grand jury, upon an investigation pending before them, may direct.

(Amended by Stats. 1971, Ch. 1196.)

939.21.
  

(a) Any prosecution witness before the grand jury in a proceeding involving a violation of Section 243.4, 261, 273a, 273d, 285, 286, 287, 288, 288.5, or 289, subdivision (1) of Section 314, Section 368, 647.6, or former Section 288a or 647a, who is a minor or a dependent person, may, at the discretion of the prosecution, select a person of his or her own choice to attend the testimony of the prosecution witness for the purpose of providing support. The person chosen shall not be a witness in the same proceeding, or a person described in Section 1070 of the Evidence Code.

(b) The grand jury foreperson shall inform any person permitted to attend the grand jury proceedings pursuant to this section that grand jury proceedings are confidential and may not be discussed with anyone not in attendance at the proceedings. The foreperson also shall admonish that person not to prompt, sway, or influence the witness in any way. Nothing in this section shall preclude the presiding judge from exercising his or her discretion to remove a person from the grand jury proceeding whom the judge believes is prompting, swaying, or influencing the witness.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 423, Sec. 82. (SB 1494) Effective January 1, 2019.)

939.3.
  

In any investigation or proceeding before a grand jury for any felony offense when a person refuses to answer a question or produce evidence of any other kind on the ground that he may be incriminated thereby, proceedings may be had under Section 1324.

(Added by Stats. 1959, Ch. 501.)

939.4.
  

The foreman may administer an oath to any witness appearing before the grand jury.

(Added by Stats. 1959, Ch. 501.)

939.5.
  

Before considering a charge against any person, the foreman of the grand jury shall state to those present the matter to be considered and the person to be charged with an offense in connection therewith. He shall direct any member of the grand jury who has a state of mind in reference to the case or to either party which will prevent him from acting impartially and without prejudice to the substantial rights of the party to retire. Any violation of this section by the foreman or any member of the grand jury is punishable by the court as a contempt.

(Added by Stats. 1959, Ch. 501.)

939.6.
  

(a) Subject to subdivision (b), in the investigation of a charge, the grand jury shall receive no other evidence than what is:

(1) Given by witnesses produced and sworn before the grand jury;

(2) Furnished by writings, material objects, or other things presented to the senses; or

(3) Contained in a deposition that is admissible under subdivision 3 of Section 686.

(b) Except as provided in subdivision (c), the grand jury shall not receive any evidence except that which would be admissible over objection at the trial of a criminal action, but the fact that evidence that would have been excluded at trial was received by the grand jury does not render the indictment void where sufficient competent evidence to support the indictment was received by the grand jury.

(c) Notwithstanding Section 1200 of the Evidence Code, as to the evidence relating to the foundation for admissibility into evidence of documents, exhibits, records, and other items of physical evidence, the evidence to support the indictment may be based in whole or in part upon the sworn testimony of a law enforcement officer relating the statement of a declarant made out of court and offered for the truth of the matter asserted. Any law enforcement officer testifying as to a hearsay statement pursuant to this subdivision shall have either five years of law enforcement experience or have completed a training course certified by the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training that includes training in the investigation and reporting of cases and testifying at preliminary hearings.

(Amended by Stats. 1998, Ch. 757, Sec. 4. Effective January 1, 1999.)

939.7.
  

The grand jury is not required to hear evidence for the defendant, but it shall weigh all the evidence submitted to it, and when it has reason to believe that other evidence within its reach will explain away the charge, it shall order the evidence to be produced, and for that purpose may require the district attorney to issue process for the witnesses.

(Added by Stats. 1959, Ch. 501.)

939.71.
  

(a) If the prosecutor is aware of exculpatory evidence, the prosecutor shall inform the grand jury of its nature and existence. Once the prosecutor has informed the grand jury of exculpatory evidence pursuant to this section, the prosecutor shall inform the grand jury of its duties under Section 939.7. If a failure to comply with the provisions of this section results in substantial prejudice, it shall be grounds for dismissal of the portion of the indictment related to that evidence.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature by enacting this section to codify the holding in Johnson v. Superior Court, 15 Cal. 3d 248, and to affirm the duties of the grand jury pursuant to Section 939.7.

(Added by Stats. 1997, Ch. 22, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1998.)

939.8.
  

The grand jury shall find an indictment when all the evidence before it, taken together, if unexplained or uncontradicted, would, in its judgment, warrant a conviction by a trial jury.

(Added by Stats. 1959, Ch. 501.)

939.9.
  

A grand jury shall make no report, declaration, or recommendation on any matter except on the basis of its own investigation of the matter made by such grand jury. A grand jury shall not adopt as its own the recommendation of another grand jury unless the grand jury adopting such recommendation does so after its own investigation of the matter as to which the recommendation is made, as required by this section.

(Added by Stats. 1959, Ch. 501.)

939.91.
  

(a) A grand jury which investigates a charge against a person, and as a result thereof cannot find an indictment against such person, shall, at the request of such person and upon the approval of the court which impaneled the grand jury, report or declare that a charge against such person was investigated and that the grand jury could not as a result of the evidence presented find an indictment. The report or declaration shall be issued upon completion of the investigation of the suspected criminal conduct, or series of related suspected criminal conduct, and in no event beyond the end of the grand jury’s term.

(b) A grand jury shall, at the request of the person called and upon the approval of the court which impaneled the grand jury, report or declare that any person called before the grand jury for a purpose, other than to investigate a charge against such person, was called only as a witness to an investigation which did not involve a charge against such person. The report or declaration shall be issued upon completion of the investigation of the suspected criminal conduct, or series of related suspected criminal conduct, and in no event beyond the end of the grand jury’s term.

(Added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 467.)

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