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Sealed Indictment

A sealed indictment is a legal document that remains confidential until it is unsealed, which typically happens upon the arrest of the person named in the indictment. Grand juries issue indictments, which are formal charges alleging that a person has committed a crime. The sealing of an indictment is done for various reasons, including preventing the suspect from fleeing, safeguarding the integrity of an ongoing investigation, or ensuring the safety of witnesses.

When an indictment is sealed, it means that the charges and evidence are not made public until a later date, often when law enforcement is ready to make an arrest. The primary goal of this secrecy is to prevent the suspect from becoming aware of the charges and taking evasive action. Once the person named in the sealed indictment is in custody, the indictment is usually unsealed, and the legal proceedings become public.

Sealed indictments are commonly used in cases involving serious crimes, such as organized crime, drug trafficking, or white-collar offenses. They provide law enforcement with a useful tool to collect evidence and build a case discretely before making arrests.

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