Indicting Grand Jury (IGJ) in Philadelphia
Recent changes in the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure have reinstituted the Indicting Grand Jury (IGJ) Law in Philadelphia. In response to the growing number of cases involving allegations of witness intimidation, a Grand Jury Subcommittee recommended changes in order to alleviate this problem.
The IGJ is not used in all cases. This is a secretive process in which all proceedings occur without the presence of the accused, or his lawyer. There is an initial determination made by the Courts as to whether witness intimidation: (1) has occurred, (2) is occurring, or (3) is likely to occur in the future. If so, the accused will not have a preliminary hearing. Instead, the evidence against the accused will be presented to an IGJ, where all participants (i.e., the witnesses, judge and prosecutor) are sworn to secrecy.
In these cases, a defendant is not entitled to receive any discovery until after he has been indicted, and a Scheduling Conference is held. This typically takes approximately 2-3 months from the date of arrest. Partial discovery is provided at the Scheduling Conference, and complete discovery, along with IGJ testimony, is not provided until 60 days prior to trial.
Typical Indicting Grand Jury (IGJ) charges are: