The Constitution of the State of California requires every county to impanel a Grand Jury each year. Each July 1, the Yolo Superior Court impanels 19 grand jurors. The grand jury serves as an arm of the judicial system, but acts as an entirely independent body. Grand jury service is an exciting opportunity to serve your community and learn more about local government. It can be an incredibly rewarding and satisfying experience. For a brief overview of the California grand jury system, See the 4 1/2 minute video -Agents of Change
Functions of the Grand Jury
The primary civil function of the grand jury is to review the operations of city and county government as well as other tax supported agencies and special districts. Based on these reviews, the grand jury publishes its findings, usually at the end of the term, in a Grand Jury Final Report. Based on its findings, the grand jury may recommend constructive action to improve the quality and effectiveness of local government.
Another responsibility of the grand jury is to consider criminal indictments based on evidence presented. In these criminal proceedings the grand jury is an effective and cost-saving tool - providing the ability to bring forth indictments quickly and efficiently avoiding the cost of lengthy preliminary hearings. In its criminal capacity the grand jury carefully reviews evidence and listens to testimonies. The grand jury does not judge and convict people. That process is the function of a court of law.
The grand jury also investigates complaints from private citizens, local government officials, or government employees.
Eligibility Requirements for Grand Jury Service
Term of Service
The term of service is a period of one year, from July 1 through June 30. You should be committed to serving the entire year.
The average time commitment for grand jury members is approximately 25-40 hours per month. Generally, two grand jury meetings are conducted per month, usually in the evening. Additional committee meetings may sometimes be scheduled during business hours.
Grand Jury Training
Grand Jury service is important work and a considerable responsibility. Generally, there are at least two training opportunities soon after being selected as a member of the grand jury. A half-day training session is held in Woodland, and a two-day training seminar, sponsored by the California Grand Jurors' Association takes place in the Sacramento area.
Grand Jury Reports
At the completion of the one-year term, the Grand Jury submits a final report that details its investigations. The final report is usually made public on the last day of June. The Grand Jury may submit additional reports throughout the year. Reports contain findings and recommendations, and lists those who are expected to respond to each of the recommendations.
Elected officials must respond within 60 days; all other boards and officials must respond within 90 days. Copies of the Grand Jury Final Report are made available to all public libraries, county and city officials and the news media. Reports are often inserted in the local newspapers. The report and its distribution serve to inform the community about Grand Jury activities and findings.
Requesting a Grand Jury Investigation
Grand Juries make their own determinations about which governmental departments to review, although the law requires that some departments be reviewed annually. In addition, citizens, local government officials and government employees may submit complaints about the action or performance of public officials and public agencies.
When sufficient information is submitted, these complaints may be investigated. The name of the person filing the complaint and the nature of the complaint itself are kept strictly confidential unless a waiver of confidentiality is signed by the person filing the complaint. Grand Jurors are sworn to secrecy and, except in very rare circumstances, neither minutes nor records of its meetings may be subpoenaed.
Click here for a Grand Jury Compaint Form, or write to this address:
Yolo County Grand Jury
PO Box 2142
Woodland, CA 95776-2142
For additional information contact:
725 Court Street, Room 303
Woodland, CA 95695