BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — A Raleigh County grand jury completed proceedings last week, resulting in a long list of indictments.
But what do these indictments mean?
According to Raleigh County Prosecuting attorney Kristen Keller, when a person is indicted, he or she is given formal notice that they are believed to have committed a crime. The indictment contains the basic information, informing the accused of their charges.
For potential felony charges, a prosecutor presents the evidence to a grand jury. The grand jury is a constitutional requirement for certain types of crimes. A group of citizens who do not know the defendant can make an unbiased decision about the evidence before voting to charge the person with a crime.
“Its both a system that serves the rights of the victims, that serves law enforcement purposes and also serves to protect the rights of the accused,” said Keller.
Keller said ethical rules require her to only prosecute when they believe there is proof beyond reasonable doubt. Indictments help determine whether a case should move forward.