Jury service is an important civic duty in our democracy. Our system of justice relies on the diligence and dedication that citizens bring to juror service. When a jury makes a determination -- whether a trial jury or a grand jury -- that jury is acting as a representative of the community. By serving as jurors, citizens help to ensure that our system of justice is representative and fair.
The grand jury process has been described in New Jersey court decisions as standing between "the power of the State and a defendant, representing a fair cross section of the community and serving as a democratic safeguard in the New Jersey judicial system." The State Grand Jury functions in the same manner as a county grand jury except that its jurisdiction extends throughout the state and, like a county grand jury; a State grand jury determines whether sufficient evidence has been presented to sustain charges against a defendant -- that is, whether to indict a defendant. State grand juries were established by statute in 1968 in order to better manage matters that may extend beyond a single county and, therefore, the jurisdiction of a particular county grand jury. Because a State grand jury is representative of the entire state, its twenty-three members are selected from a pool of prospective jurors that includes citizens from each of New Jersey 's twenty-one counties. State grand juries meet in Trenton.