Civil Grand Jury
The Civil Grand Jury is the guardian of public trust in local government. This is known as the "Civil Watchdog" function. The Civil Grand Jury exists to assure honest and efficient government. Criminal indictments are now handled solely by the Criminal Grand Jury. The creation of a two-grand-jury system enables the Civil Grand Jury more time to focus on its oversight function.
Certain functions of the Civil Grand Jury are mandated by law:
- Examining the condition of the detention facilities within the County.
- Auditing the books, records and accounts of County offices and to contract for an outside auditor to conduct such audits.
The current operations of the Civil and Criminal Grand Jury are governed by Sections 888 - 939.91 of the California Penal Code.
Committees are formed to study citizen complaints. The Civil Grand Jury itself also selects additional areas that it wishes to study/investigate. At the end of the fiscal term on June 30th, the Grand Jury publishes its findings, conclusions and recommendations in a Final Report which is distributed to public officials, libraries and the press. Agencies or departments, which are the subjects of investigations, are required to respond to the findings and recommendations within 90 days.
The Civil Grand Jury does not have jurisdiction in matters being litigated. The Civil Grand Jury is limited to studying procedures or systems.
You may obtain a Civil Grand Jury Complaint Form from the Civil Grand Jury office.
The Presiding Judge of the Superior Court directs the process for selection of the Civil Grand Jury each year. The process involves random selection of names from both the master jury pool as well as names submitted by community leaders. The Presiding Judge interviews each potential member of the Civil Grand Jury who indicates they are willing to serve. There can be up to ten (10) "holdovers" from the previous Civil Grand Jury who continue to serve on the next Civil Grand Jury - although past practice has been from one (1) to four (4) "holdovers". The Court seeks to select a cross section of the community based on geographical location, skills, age, sex and ethnic background. Out of those persons who are interviewed, the Presiding Judge selects thirty (30) names. Then, on July 1st of each year, up to nineteen (19) names (depending on the number of "holdovers"), plus four (4) alternates are drawn. These people become the members of the new Civil Grand Jury. Civil Grand Jurors volunteer to serve for one fiscal year from July 1st to June 30th.
The selection process for the Civil Grand Jury begins in March of every year. If you are interested in serving on the Civil Grand Jury, please call (209) 525-4252 for an application in March.