Rule 231. Who May be Present During Session of an Investigating Grand Jury.

 (A)  The attorney for the Commonwealth, the alternate grand jurors, the witness under examination, and a stenographer may be present while the investigating grand jury is in session. Counsel for the witness under examination may be present as provided by law.

 (B)  The supervising judge, upon the request of the attorney for the Commonwealth or the grand jury, may order that an interpreter, security officers, and such other persons as the judge may determine are necessary to the presentation of the evidence may be present while the investigating grand jury is in session.

 (C)  All persons who are to be present while the grand jury is in session shall be identified in the record, shall be sworn to secrecy as provided in these rules, and shall not disclose any information pertaining to the grand jury except as provided by law.

 (D)  No person other than the permanent grand jurors may be present during the deliberations or voting of the grand jury.


   As used in this rule, the term ‘‘witness’’ includes both juveniles and adults.

   The 1987 amendment provides that either the attorney for the Commonwealth, or a majority of the grand jury, through their foreperson, may request that certain, specified individuals, in addition to those referred to in paragraph (A), be present in the grand jury room while the grand jury is in session. As provided in paragraph (B), the additional people would be limited to an interpreter or interpreters the supervising judge determines are needed to assist the grand jury in understanding the testimony of a witness; a security officer or security officers the supervising judge determines are needed to escort witnesses who are in custody or to protect the members of the grand jury and the other people present during a session of the grand jury; and any individuals the supervising judge determines are required to assist the grand jurors with the presentation of evidence. This would include such people as the case agent (lead investigator), who would assist the attorney for the Commonwealth with questions for witnesses; experts, who would assist the grand jury with interpreting difficult, complex technical evidence; or technicians to run such equipment as tape recorders, videomachines, etc.

   It is intended in paragraph (B) that when the supervising judge authorizes a certain individual to be present during a session of the investigating grand jury, the person may remain in the grand jury room only as long as is necessary for that person to assist the grand jurors.

   Paragraph (C), added in 1987, generally prohibits the disclosure of any information related to testimony before the grand jury. There are, however, some exceptions to this prohibition enumerated in Section 4549 of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S. §  4549.

   Official Note

   Rule 264 adopted June 26, 1978, effective January 9, 1979; amended June 5, 1987, effective July 1, 1987; renumbered Rule 231 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; Comment revised January 18, 2013, effective May 1, 2013.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Report explaining the June 5, 1987 amendments adding paragraphs (B)—(D) published at 17 Pa.B. 167 (January 10, 1987).

   Final Report explaining the March 1, 2000 reorganization and renumbering of the rules published with the Court’s Order at 30 Pa.B. 1478 (March 18, 2000).

   Final Report explaining the January 18, 2013 Comment revision concerning definition of witness as used in this rule published at 43 Pa.B. 653 (February 2, 2013).


   The provisions of this Rule 231 amended January 18, 2013, effective May 1, 2013, 43 Pa.B. 652. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (363808) to (363809).

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