CIVIL GRAND JURY

What is the Civil Grand Jury?

The Civil Grand Jury investigates and reports on the operation of county and local government entities. The Grand Jury also investigates misconduct by local public officials.

Amador County Grand Jury, P.O. Box 249, Jackson, CA 95642
Telephone: 209-223-2574
Court Liaison for Grand Jury: 209-257-2658

History

The Grand Jury is an investigatory body created for the protection of society and the enforcement of the law. The U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment and the California Constitution call for Grand Juries. Grand juries were established throughout California during the early years of statehood. As constituted today, the Grand Jury is a part of the Judicial Branch of government, an arm of the Court.

Functions

There are two types of Grand Juries. Civil and Criminal.
The Grand Jury in Amador County is impaneled only for civil purposes.

Complaints


As part of the civil function, the Grand Jury receives many letters from citizens alleging mistreatment by officials, suspicions of misconduct, or governmental inefficiencies. Complaints received from citizens are acknowledged and investigated for their validity. Such complaints are kept confidential.


Inspection

The Grand Jury may examine all aspects of county and city government and special districts to ensure that the best interests of Amador County citizens are being served. The Grand Jury reviews and evaluates procedures, methods and systems utilized by county government to determine whether more efficient and economical programs may be employed.


The Grand Jury is also authorized to:

Inspect and audit books, records and financial expenditures.
Ensure that public funds are properly accounted for and legally spent.
Inspect financial records of special districts in Amador County.
Inquire into the conditions of jails and detention centers.
Inquire into charges of willful misconduct in office by public officials
or employees.

All Grand Jury findings and recommendations are issued in written reports at the end of each fiscal year. Each report must be approved by at least 12 members of the Grand Jury. Within 60 to 90 days following issuance of a report, officials responsible for matters addressed in the report are required to respond in writing. The Grand Jury reviews the responses of the affected public agencies. Grand Jury reports become public record and are available for viewing on this website.

Organization

In Amador County, the Grand Jury is impaneled annually and is comprised of 19 members. The Superior Court Judge appoints a foreperson who presides at all full jury proceedings and is responsible for directing the business of the Grand Jury.

Grand Jurors are officers of the Court, but work as an independent body. It is critical to the effectiveness and credibility of the Grand Jury that all members function without influence from outside parties.

Most grand jury work is done by committees. These may include: Audit & Finance, County Administration, Education, Health & Human Services, Law Enforcement and Planning & Environment. Other committees may be appointed as required.

The Grand Jury and its committees meet several times a week. They meet with county and city officials, visit county facilities, and conduct independent research on matters of interest or concern. The committees report to the full Grand Jury and conclusions are reached after discussion and study of the issues. The jury may seek advice or request the services of the County Counsel, District Attorney, Advisory Judge of the Superior Court, or State Attorney General.

Selection

The selection process begins in March of each year. A Grand Jury candidate pool is developed from voter registration and Department of Motor Vehicle records. Over 700 questionnaires are sent out to potential candidates. After reviewing the questionnaires, the Presiding Judge interviews approximately 70 candidates. Of those interviewed, 30 will be invited back for a random selection draw in which 19 members will be selected to serve as the Civil Grand Jury for the coming fiscal year. These 19 members will be sworn in and given a description of their duties and responsibilities. This new Jury begins its year of service on July 1.

Confidentiality

All Grand Jury proceedings, including complaints, are confidential. Jurors may not discuss the business of the jury with spouses, friends, or acquaintances.

Commitment

Persons selected for Grand Jury service must make a commitment to serve a minimum of 10 hours per week for a period of one year (July 1 thru June 30).

Remuneration

Grand Jurors receive a nominal payment for meetings and are reimbursed for allowable travel.

Why Become a Grand Juror? Will it make a difference?

It is a privilege and an honor to be selected. The opportunity to serve may only occur once in a lifetime. If and when you are asked to serve as a Grand Juror, you are encouraged to accept this unique opportunity to represent the community in which you live.