Pike County Grand Jury returns

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 12, 1999

149 indictments during session


Staff Writer

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The Pike County Grand Jury received evidence in 156 cases during its scheduled session last week.

The grand jury returned 145 felony indictments and four misdemeanor indictments, said Bruce L. Devane, chief investigator of the 12th judicial circuit district attorney’s office.

The session began Monday and recessed Tuesday, Devane said.

The grand jury no billed six cases and continued one case for further investigation, he added.

More specific information about the individual cases in which the grand jury heard evidence is not available because the group meets in secret, Devane said. At these proceedings, the grand jury decides if there is enough evidence against defendants for cases to go to court.

The grand jury prepares indictments by formally charging the defendant in writing of a criminal act, he said. The indictment is delivered to the circuit court clerk who prepares a warrant and delivers it to the Pike County Sheriff for service. The process takes about 10 days, and it is at this time that the cases become public record, Devane said.

When a person is served with a warrant, he is arrested and posts bail or goes to jail. Then an arraignment hearing is held where charges are read by the court to ensure the defendant understands them, he said.

At this time a plea is entertained. There are three please – guilty, not guilty and guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. If a defendant pleads guilty, a sentencing hearing is scheduled, Devane said. If he please not guilty a trial date is set.

Defendants indicted during this term of the grand jury will be arraigned Jan. 6 at 9 a.m. at the Pike County Courthouse.