If a complaint is not resolved pre-indictment, it is presented to a grand jury for action. The right to have charges presented to a grand jury is guaranteed by the New Jersey Constitution. See N.J. Const. art. I. 8. The function of the grand jury is to investigate criminal complaints, with the goal of either bringing charges against those responsible for criminal conduct, or refusing to bring charges where prosecution is unwarranted.
A grand jury consists of no more than 23 members, randomly selected from the general public. The assignment judge appoints one juror to be foreperson and another deputy foreperson. Each county must have a grand jury at all times. The deliberations of the grand jury are secret. An assistant prosecutor presents the State's case to the grand jury. Neither the defendant, nor his or her attorney attend grand jury proceedings unless the defendant asks to testify before the grand jury. If 12 or more members of the grand jury find that charges are warranted, the panel renders an indictment, which is called a "True Bill." If the grand jury finds charges are unwarranted, it returns a "No Bill." If a case is "No Billed," the grand jury, through the foreperson, reports this in writing to the assignment judge, who, if the defendant is in jail, will order the defendant's release unless there are other charges pending for which detention is required.