Wednesday, April 16, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Grand Jury applications sought

The annual opportunity for citizens to take part in the 2013-2014 El Dorado County Grand Jury by submitting their names for possible nomination has arrived. The Grand Jury is an opportunity for committed men and women to keep government close to and responsible to all of the county’s citizens.

Applicants must be United 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 year, beginning July 1.

The El Dorado Civil 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. 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 time-consuming process and usually takes many months to complete. For a complete description of the Grand Jury’s duties, as well as past and present Grand Jury Reports, please see 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 six-seven 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 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 pick up an application from Suzanne M. Thurman, executive administrative assistant for the Superior Court, at 2850 Fairlane Court, Suite 110, Building C, Placerville.

The application is also available online at edcgov.us/GrandJury/. You may also call 530-621-7414 and request an application/questionnaire to be mailed or e-mailed to you. May 17 is the deadline to apply.

Mike Applegarth

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 4 comments

  • DB SmithApril 30, 2013 - 10:05 am

    This is not fair. Why should I have to be a legal US citizen?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • ConcernedApril 30, 2013 - 3:06 pm

    The last grand jury screwed the taxpayers, blowing a big budget to resign without doing anything. A couple jurors said they had not produced a single report after eight months. What a waste. Local judges would have to be crazy to fill a new jury with any of those who resigned.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JethroMcSwiftApril 30, 2013 - 3:18 pm

    DB - y'all suppose i shud apply?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • 1036-FrankMay 01, 2013 - 8:01 am

    With the resignation of the former GJ which appears to be a first for the state it wouldn't surprise me to see very few applicants for this time around, however, it should be said that a real functioning GJ backed by the people does have the power to try in court corruption and malfeasance allegations against local public officials which would keep the GJ busy for some time and could work to restore the confidence of the people as there are some big clean up jobs needed if these cases don't go to the right venues for action soon.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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