Civil Grand Jury

The Grand Jury is part of the judicial branch of government. Consisting of eleven citizens, it is an arm of the court, yet an entirely independent body. The presiding judge of the superior court, the district attorney, the county counsel, and the state attorney general act as its advisors.

Functions of the Grand Jury

What is a county grand jury and what does it do?

In California, the grand jury system consists of 58 separate grand juries—one in each county—that are convened on an annual (July – June) basis by the Superior Court to serve a “watchdog” function, investigating and reporting on the operations of local government.

With regard to its watchdog authority, the civil grand jury is well suited to the effective investigation of local governments because it is an independent body, operationally separate from the entities and officials it investigates. It conducts its investigations under the auspices of the Superior Court and has broad access to public officials, employees, records and information.

The grand jury’s fact-finding efforts result in written reports which contain specific recommendations aimed at identifying problems and offering recommendations for improving government operations and enhancing responsiveness. In this way, the grand jury acts as a representative of county residents in promoting government accountability.

Volunteer to Serve As A Grand Juror

Service on the Civil Grand Jury is an excellent opportunity to learn about the inner workings of government, while providing a valuable service to the community. The 11 members of the Civil Grand Jury serve for one year (July – June) and are empowered to investigate the operations of county, city and district governments; provide civil oversight of local government departments and agencies; and respond to citizen complaints.

The Civil Grand Jury sets its own agenda and meeting schedule. Much of the work is performed in small committees allowing for considerable flexibility in the work schedule and meeting locations.

Grand Jurors are compensated $25 per full panel meeting and $10 per special or committee meeting; they are also compensated he standard IRS mileage rates.

To volunteer to serve as a Grand Juror please complete the Grand Jury Application.

You can return the completed application to:

PO BOX 1508
BISHOP, CA 93515

To Contact The Civil Grand Jury

The Grand Jury receives letters of complaint from citizens alleging mistreatment by public officials, suspicions of misconduct, or governmental inefficiencies. Anyone may file a complaint and ask the Grand Jury to conduct an investigation. Such complaints are acknowledged and are kept confidential.

If the Grand Jury believes the situation warrants, the Grand Jury will investigate. The jury generally limits investigations to the operations of governmental agencies, charges of wrongdoing within public agencies, or the performance of unlawful acts by public officials. The Grand Jury cannot investigate disputes between private parties.

The mission of the Grand Jury is accomplished by assuring that all persons who communicate with the Grand Jury will be protected by strict rules of confidentiality. These rules extend to all participants, including witnesses, and all questions and responses. Further, complaint forms, minutes and records of Grand Jury meetings are protected by law and cannot be subpoenaed or inspected by anyone. Anyone who violates these rules of confidentiality is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Please mail all Citizen Complaints to:

PO BOX 401

AGENTS of CHANGE - California Grand Jurors' Association