Grand jury proceedings are secret, and when no indictment is handed down - as was the case for Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson - the files remain locked up.
But in an unusual step after a grand jury deliberation, transcripts of testimony that jurors heard considering Michael Brown's death have been released to the public.
This was Ferguson early Tuesday morning.
Shattered glass from looted stores covered the asphalt. The smoke of tear gas lingered in the cold air. A no-fly zone imposed over the city.
"This ain't Iraq. This is the United States," Demetric Whitlock yelled to a line of police officers on South Florissant Road, in front of the Ferguson Police Department.
When a grand jury decided Monday not to indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, the act triggered fresh confrontations between protesters and police in the tense Missouri city.
Local officials told CNN that if the grand jury decides whether to indict Officer Darren Wilson on Monday, an official announcement of that decision could come soon afterward - rather than 48 hours later as previously planned.
Officials caution, however, that nothing is set and logistics are still being worked out.
Prosecutors haven't said what their plans are.
President Barack Obama is ordering the most sweeping overhaul of the immigration system in decades, despite Republican claims he is acting illegally by moving unilaterally to shield five million undocumented immigrants.
Obama rejected accusations by conservatives that he is offering a free pass to undocumented immigrants and warned in a prime-time address that he would bolster border security and make it harder for unauthorized outsiders to get into the country.
"Today our immigration system is broken and everybody knows it," Obama said. "It's been this way for decades and for decades we haven't done much about it."