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Volunteer Today!
Interested in Examining How Local Governmental Agencies Work and Joining in to Make Recommendations for Improvements?

APPLY BY MAY 16, 2014
Dedicated community volunteers interested in becoming a Civil Grand Juror for the next fiscal year (July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015) are needed. Each year, the Civil Grand Jury examines local governmental agencies and investigates citizen concerns. The annual report of the Civil Grand Jury provides a foundation for discussion and action to improve local government services within Monterey County.

To volunteer for this important civic service, please

1) submit your application and
2) plan to attend one of the three interview and informational sessions as follows:

ALL SESSIONS BEGIN AT 2:00PM
In King City: King City Courthouse, 250 Franciscan Way
Courtroom 18, Tuesday May ~ 20
In Monterey: Monterey Courthouse, 1200 Aguajito Road
Courtroom 17, Wednesday ~ May 21
In Salinas: Salinas Courthouse, 240 Church Street
Jury Assembly Room ~ 2nd Floor ~ Thursday ~ May 22



Apply Online

Apply By Paper
You may print the application form below and apply by mail, in person or via email. Details on how to submit your application are detailed on the Application to Serve.

Learn more about this important voluntary service – details about the Civil Grand Jury are included on this website page and in the attached Civil Grand Jury Informational Brochure Details include the following subjects related to Civil Grand Jury service:

  • Functions
  • Responsibilities
  • Citizen Concerns / Complaints
  • Final Report
  • Commitment
  • Qualifications and Disqualification
  • Selection Process
  • Structure
  • Compensation
  • History
Additional information regarding state-wide civil grand juries, related California Code sections and the status of current legislation is available on the California Grand Jurors’ Association (CGJA) website at: http://cgja.org/. Membership of the CGJA is comprised of current and former grand jurors from throughout the state. The CGJA is dedicated to promoting the understanding of the unique practices of grand juries in California and to educating the public and prospective grand jurors about the beneficial oversight function of this system.

FUNCTIONS

Nineteen volunteer members from the community are impanelled to serve as the Monterey County Civil Grand Jury in July of each year. The Civil Grand Jury is an investigatory “watchdog” body created to ensure that the best interests of all citizens of the county are being served by local government.



RESPONSIBILITIES

The primary responsibilities of the Civil Grand Jury include examining all aspects of county government (including special districts) ensuring that all public monies are being handled judiciously, all accounts are properly audited—in general, guaranteeing honest, efficient government in the best interest of the people.

The Civil Grand Jury is authorized to:

  • Inspect and audit books, records, and financial expenditures to ensure that public funds are properly accounted for and legally spent;
  • Inspect financial records of special districts in Monterey County;
  • Examine the books and records of any nonprofit organization receiving county or city funds;
  • Inquire into the conditions of jails and detention centers; and
  • Inquire into any charges of willful misconduct in office by public officials or employees.

Findings may be included in the Civil Grand Jury’s final report describing the issues and recommendations for improvement or solutions.



CITIZEN CONCERNS / COMPLAINTS

Communications from the public can provide valuable information to the Civil Grand Jury, which may prompt an investigation of a local government agency. Any citizen may submit concerns regarding mistreatment, suspicious misconduct or inefficiencies to the Civil Grand Jury for consideration on a Citizen Complaint Form (Click here).

All complaints must be submitted in writing and mailed to the following address:

Monterey County Civil Grand Jury
PO Box 414
Salinas, CA 93902

To request a complaint form be emailed or mailed to you, please call the jury liaison’s office located at the Monterey County Counsel’s Office at: (831) 755-5045. You may also visit the jury liaison at the Monterey County Counsel’s Office at 168 W. Alisal Street, Salinas, to request a complaint form.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • Complaints must be submitted in writing; complaints are not accepted by phone;
  • The Civil Grand Jury does not investigate all complaints received. Investigations are at the discretion of the jury;
  • Investigation of your complaint cannot be confirmed; all investigations remain confidential until the Civil Grand Jury decides to include the findings in the final report;
  • Anonymous complaints may not be responded to if the Civil Grand Jury is unable to contact you for additional information related to the complaint;
  • The Civil Grand Jury cannot investigate activities outside their jurisdiction or criminal activity; all such complaints warranting investigation will be referred to the District Attorney or Attorney General;
  • The Grand Jury cannot investigate disputes between private parties.



FINAL REPORT

Each year the Civil Grand Jury publishes a final report summarizing their investigative findings and providing recommendations for study and action. Copies of the final reports are distributed to interested parties, public officials, libraries, the news media, and any entity that is the subject of one of the reports. Copies of the final reports are maintained on file with the Monterey County Clerk’s Office, the Superior Court and at local libraries. The reports and responses to the reports are also posted on the Court’s website at: http://www.monterey.courts.ca.gov/GrandJury/Reports.aspx

As required by statute, agencies investigated and named in the final report must respond to the findings and recommendations within a required timeline; either 60 or 90 days from the release of the report, depending on the agency.



COMMITMENT

The Civil Grand Jury forms committees and sets its own schedule for interviews, investigations and meetings. Persons selected for service should plan to commit to a minimum of 15-20 hours per week for a period of one year (July 1 - June 30). However, based on each individual’s availability, it is not uncommon for some members to work in excess of this estimated time.



QUALIFICATIONS

Desirable Grand Juror qualifications include:

  • Be in reasonably good health;
  • Be open-minded to the views of others;
  • Have an interest in community affairs;
  • Have a general knowledge of the function, authority and responsibility of city and county government;
  • Possess investigative skills;
  • Have the ability to write and edit reports.

Would you make a good Civil Grand Juror?

  • Are you interested in trying to increase the efficiency of local government, save taxpayer dollars, and improve services?
  • Can you ask thoughtful questions, review documents, and help write reports?
  • Can you commit to a full year of work?
  • Does your schedule permit you to attend a minimum of 4-6 daytime meetings each month?
  • Can you contribute a minimum of 15-20 hours per week to the Civil Grand Jury?
  • Can you maintain confidentiality?
  • If employed, can you obtain consent from your employer to serve on the Civil Grand Jury?

Prospective Grand Jurors must possess the following qualifications (Penal Code 893):

  • Be a citizen of the United States and 18 years or older;
  • Be a resident of the State and of the County for one year immediately before being selected;
  • Be in possession of his or her natural faculties of ordinary intelligence, of sound judgment, and of fair character;
  • Possess sufficient knowledge of the English language.



DISQUALIFICATION

A person is not legally qualified to serve if any of the following apply:

  • The person is serving as an elected public official;
  • The person has been discharged as a Grand Juror;
  • The person is serving as a trial juror in any court of this State;
  • The person has been convicted of malfeasance in office or any felony or other high crime.



SELECTION PROCESS

To volunteer for this important civic service, interested and qualified citizens available to commit to an average of 15-20 hours per week for one year (July 1 - June 30), may apply on-line at http://www.monterey.courts.ca.gov/grandjury.

A jury panel of qualified members of diverse age groups, socio-economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds, representative of the diversity within Monterey County is sought.

If you are unable to apply on-line, you may also request an application form be emailed or mailed to you by contacting the civil grand jury recruitment office by email at civilgrandjuryinfo@monterey.courts.ca.gov or by calling (831) 775-5400, ext. 2081. Application forms may also be picked up at any Superior Court Clerk’s Office in Marina, Monterey and Salinas or at the Monterey County Counsel’s Office.

Following the application and interview process, the Superior Court Judges will select 30 nominees to proceed to a random drawing held in July of each year. A total of 19 of these nominees are drawn and sworn to serve on the Civil Grand Jury; the remaining 11 nominees serve as alternates. Alternates may be called to serve at any time when a sworn juror becomes unable to complete their service during the course of the fiscal year (July 1 - June 30). All sworn and alternate jurors receive a 2-day training session prior to commencing their service.



STRUCTURE

After the Civil Grand Jury is sworn in, the Presiding Judge appoints a Foreperson (presiding juror) responsible for the general oversight, direction and collegiality of the jury.

The jury organizes its structure by appointing other positions necessary to its functions. The jury also forms committees and establishes areas of investigative interest, goals and timelines. Typical committees include Audit/Finance, Cities/Special Districts, Edit, Education, Health and Social Services and Law Enforcement.

Each juror typically serves on 2 or 3 committees, based on their availability, and each committee will meet 2 or 3 times per month, depending on the research and investigations undertaken. The committees meet with county, city and local agency officials, visit government facilities and conduct independent research on matters of interest or concern.

Generally, once or twice each month, the full jury will convene a plenary meeting at which each committee will report and provide updates on their research and investigative progress and findings. The full jury will discuss and study the issues and vote on how to proceed. All actions and investigations require a majority vote by the jury.

The Civil Grand Jury also has direct access to legal advice provided by their advisory group comprised of the Monterey County Counsel, Advisor Judge and the Monterey County District Attorney. When warranted, the jury may also seek advice from the Attorney General.



COMPENSATION

Jury members are paid $15 per day for attendance of regular Civil Grand Jury and committee meetings, along with reimbursement at the current Federal mileage rate for mileage to and from jury meetings and site visits. No additional compensation is provided.



HISTORY

The Civil Grand Jury is an investigatory body created for the protection of society and enforcement of the law. The concept of juries dates back to Norman times in the 800s. By 1215, the jury concept had evolved into a guarantee expressed in the Magna Carta that no free man would be “imprisoned or [dispossessed] or exiled or in any way destroyed…except by the lawful judgment of his peers…” In the United States, the Massachusetts Bay Colony impaneled the first Grand Jury in 1635 to consider cases of murder, robbery, and wife beating. 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 and are now impaneled annually.



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