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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — A grand jury will return to Champaign County soon for the first time in over a decade.
Grand juries can be used in felony cases to handle preliminary probable cause hearings. However, Champaign County’s grand jury was eliminated in 2009 due to budget cuts.
Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Reitz said that adding the grand jury will eliminate mass calls and that will lighten the load for judges and make the process faster. But that isn’t all.
“We’re including the public more in the criminal justice process by having the grand jurors called in,” Reitz said. “These will be citizens in the community who will have the opportunity to be a part of the criminal justice process. We may have them be able to things like jail tours and things like that that we used to do in the past.”
Reitz said that by doing that, people will get an education on the process. Champaign County is currently one of the only counties of its size and one of the only counties in the state not using a grand jury system.
The grand jury consists of 16 people who are responsible for listening to a case to see if there is enough evidence to pursue a trial. They are selected randomly, the same way as anyone selected for jury duty. Jurors are paid per day and food is provided.