Grand jury next step in Strauss-Kahn legal case
16th May 2011, 2 comments
A New York city judge Monday denied bail for IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, charged with the sexual assault and attempted rape of a New York hotel chambermaid.
Here are the next steps in Strauss-Kahn's legal journey since his arrest on Saturday:
-- A grand jury, whose function is to decide whether there is enough evidence for a trial to proceed, will meet sometime in the next three days.
Grand juries are secret proceedings in which the prosecutor will aim to convince the 16 to 23 members of the panel that there are reasonable grounds to believe a crime was committed. It is not the grand jury's role to determine whether the IMF chief is guilty, but simply whether there is enough evidence for the case to go forward.
-- In Strass-Kahn's case, if the alleged victim testifies, the grand jury is certain to move towards an indictment, explained Randolph Jonakait, a professor at New York Law School.
-- Neither Strauss-Kahn nor his attorney would be there unless Strauss-Kahn wanted to testify. If they were to appear, said Jonakait, Strauss-Kahn's lawyer would not be allowed to participate in the proceeding or call any witnesses.
-- In most cases the grand jury follows the recommendation of the prosecutors, and then reports its decision to a judge, who is not part of the grand jury proceedings.
-- At this point, the judge would call a second arraignment, and read out the charges handed up by the grand jury. The judge could change the bail conditions or continue to deny bail.
-- The prosecutor would be required to give certain evidence in its possession to Strauss-Kahn's defense attorneys and both sides would begin the process of collecting evidence, said Jonakait.
-- The actual trial would begin anywhere from three months to a year after that, unless a plea agreement with the prosecutors is reached.
If the case goes to trial, it would be heard by a judge at the New York Supreme Court, which is the state's trial felony court.
© 2011 AFP