Superior Court of CaliforniaCounty of El Dorado
Recently, an article entitled “Public Election for Reinstatement of Grand Jury” appeared in the newspaper, implying a group of citizens were meeting to vote in a new El Dorado County grand jury. The group who published that news release has no connection to the actual El Dorado County Grand Jury, nor are they involved in any way with the process of impaneling the El Dorado County Grand Jury.
However, beginning now, the citizens of El Dorado County once again have the opportunity to become a part of the 2014-2015 [Official] Civil Grand Jury of El Dorado County. The Grand Jury is an excellent vehicle for committed men and women to keep government close to and responsible to all of our County’s citizens. Applicants must be Untied States citizens, at least 18 years of age, have resided in the County for at least one year at the time of the swearing-in date, and cannot hold an elected office. The Judges of the Superior Court shall select names from those submitted, as well as other nominees, and currently seated grand jurors who wish to be held over, to be put into the jury pool. Nineteen jurors are then selected in a random drawing from this pool. Final selection will take place in late June. Jurors are expected to be present. Jurors serve for a period of one (1) year, commencing July 1st.
The Grand Jury is an investigatory body created for the protection of society and the enforcement of the law. It is an arm of the Court and a representative of the public. Although it is an arm of the Court, it operates independently of direct Court supervision. It is a check against governmental authority. It is not a branch of the County, nor is it answerable to the District Attorney. The Grand Jury acts as an investigative body to ensure that county, special district, and city government is being effectively run. The Grand Jury is NOT a jury for a trial. Typically the Jury looks at systems and processes. The Jury has no enforcement authority; it can only make recommendations, through publication of a final report, usually published at the end of June each year (See Penal Code 933 & 933.05). The Jury cannot normally resolve or solve emergency situations. Each complaint the Jury accepts for investigation must be investigated thoroughly, seeking out and analyzing the facts prior to writing a report for publication. This is a timeconsuming process and usually takes many months to complete. For a complete description of the Grand Jury’s duties, as well as past and present (to be released shortly) Grand Jury Reports, please see http://www.edcgov.us/GrandJury/ .
Jurors are regularly called upon to confer with government officials and other citizens in order to gain information and insight concerning matters under investigation. While being a Grand Juror is not a full-time job, it does require a substantial time commitment. This time includes attendance at meetings and committee meetings, investigating, and preparing written reports. The El Dorado County Grand Jury sets its own meeting schedule. However, jurors can typically expect to serve a minimum of 6-7 hours over two days per week. Investigative committee chairs and the foreperson may expect to serve 10-20 hours per week. Jurors can certainly take vacations during the session, but periods of absence exceeding two weeks, especially during the second half of the session, should be held to a minimum.
Meetings are compensated at the maximum rate of $15.00 per day of meeting; mileage is compensated at the rate payable to employees of El Dorado County for each mile actually and necessarily traveled for purposes of said sessions or committee work. No other compensation is provided.
Qualified citizens who have an interest in this unique type of service may fill out their application online, sign it and return it, or pick up an application from Suzanne M. Thurman, Executive Administrative Assistant for the Superior Court, at 2850 Fairlane Court, Suite 110 (Building C), Placerville, California. You may also call (530) 621-7414 and request an application to be mailed or emailed to you. May 2, 2014 is the deadline for submitting your application for Grand Jury service. Original completed applications must be submitted to the Superior Court, Attn: Suzanne M. Thurman, Executive Administrative Assistant, 2850 Fairlane Court, Suite 110, Placerville, CA 95667 by 5:00 p.m. on Friday May 2, 2014.