The annual recruitment is open for the 2019-2020 Fiscal Year Civil grand Jury. Dedicated community volunteers interested in becoming a Civil Grand Juror for the next fiscal year (July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020) 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
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.
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.
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.
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:
Findings may be included in the Civil Grand Jury’s final report describing the issues and recommendations for improvement or solutions.
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.
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.
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 here.
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.
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 20-25 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.
Desirable Grand Juror qualifications include:
Would you make a good Civil Grand Juror?
Prospective Grand Jurors must possess the following qualifications (Penal Code 893):
A person is not legally qualified to serve if any of the following apply:
To volunteer for this important civic service, interested and qualified citizens available to commit to an average of 20-25 hours per week for one year (July 1 - June 30), may apply on-line here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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.