CHAMBERSBURG, Pa (WHTM) – Franklin County’s district attorney plans a new approach to fighting crime when he convenes a grand jury next year to combat heroin trafficking.
District Attorney Matthew Fogel says the new grand jury will begin its service in January 2017. The panel, which will consist of 30-to-38 members, will be convened for a period of 18 months. During that time, the grand jury will hear witness testimony specifically about alleged illegal drug dealing and trafficking.
Fogel says the grand jury format offers several advantages. The grand jury protects witnesses with a guarantee of secret testimony. Fogel says the grand jury process also protects the integrity of ongoing criminal investigations so that targeted individuals are not aware of the grand jury’s involvement.
Fogel added that a grand jury has the power to force reluctant witnesses to testify. And the panel can also require people and businesses to produce material without search warrants.
Once the grand jury has heard the presentation from law enforcement authorities it can then issue a presentment which is a recommendation to authorities to file criminal charges.