Grand Jury Secrecy

When a leading state such as Illinois enacts “reform” legislation, an impact on the legislatures of other jurisdictions may be anticipated. Accordingly, a need exists for an examination of this legislation in the light of the common-law background of grand jury secrecy and for a further analysis of it in the face of the growing trend toward more liberalized discovery of grand jury minutes in other jurisdictions. It is the contention of the author that such an empirical study will demonstrate that this legislation adopted by Illinois is contrary to all modern judicial thinking and is, in fact, a retrogressive step toward a period long outdated; that it facilitates serious abuses inherent in granting to the prosecution sole control over the use of grand jury minutes; and that, by the very limitations it creates, a serious question is raised as to its constitutionality.