Americapedia

Fifth Amendment: Grand Juries (1791)

In capital or especially “infamous” or notorious crimes, the government must empanel a grand jury to decide whether there is enough evidence to charge the suspect. This protection ensures that the government is certain of its case before proceeding, and that the collective wisdom of several individual citizens is required to charge someone with a crime that may carry a very severe sentence. In this way, the people protect justice and serve as a check on the power of agents of the executive branch—the police and prosecutors.

Serving on a grand jury is a responsibility of citizenship.