The only advice a defense attorney can give a client called before a state grand jury is to plead a Fifth Amendment privilege, Lindy said.
There are checks and balances with grand juries, Heine said.
"We're going to have to convince the majority of 23 people before we can get somebody indicted," Heine said. "These are members of the general public. They are not lawyers or judges."
After indictment, the grand jury testimony is subject to motions to quash, and the grand jury panels are subject to challenges as who the prosecutors picked for the jury panel, Heine said.
Even though it is not the standard practice in Pennsylvania state court for people subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury to be notified if they have some criminal exposure, attorneys "become very skilled at knowing what's going on," said R. Bruce Manchester, a criminal defense attorney with Manchester & Associates in Centre County who has represented several clients in state-level investigating grand juries.
Once an attorney sits down with his or her client and does a detailed interview, an attorney can usually figure out if his or her client has any exposure, Manchester said.
If a client has exposure and if prosecutors are willing to negotiate, a defense attorney can negotiate immunity for his or her client in exchange for testimony, Manchester said.
Next week's installment examines conflicts between counsel representing institutions and those institutions' agents or employees in investigating grand juries.