In the First Judicial District, Jefferson and Gilpin counties, most cases are filed by information and complaint. However, in appropriate circumstances a grand jury may be used to investigate and charge criminal violations. Grand juries issue a charging document called an indictment which sets forth the charges the grand jury has found to be appropriate in an investigation.
Grand juries may hear a variety of types of criminal cases including homicides, child abuse, vehicular homicides, securities fraud, mortgage fraud, and complex white collar cases to name a few. One advantage of the grand jury is that they have the unique ability to obtain records not generally available to prosecutors in other investigations. They also have the ability to require reluctant witnesses to testify through the use of grand jury subpoenas.
Grand juries are comprised of twelve citizens just like any other jury. They are selected completely at random from voter registration rolls and Department of Motor Vehicles list of registered drivers. The First Judicial District has two sitting grand juries. There is a county-wide grand jury and a District grand jury that hears cases both in Jefferson and Gilpin counties. The grand juries meet on alternating Fridays.