An indictment refers to the formal process of accusing an individual of committing a crime. A grand jury typically hears an indictment. During the indictment process, the grand jury is concerned solely with whether there is enough evidence to bring charges against the defendant. Therefore, it is not the jury’s job (during an indictment) to determine the defendant’s guilt or innocence.
The indictment process was, at one time, popularly used in many different countries; however, it is now used most commonly in the United States. Typically, indictments only occur due to a person being charged with a serious crime, usually a felony of some sort. Furthermore, the United States Constitution, under the Fifth Amendment, states that “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury…”
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