What Is A Grand Jury?
In California, the grand jury is an investigatory body made up of citizens with the authority to act as a watchdog on local government, investigate citizen complaints, and assist in criminal matters at the request of the district attorney.
The grand jury is part of the county judicial system as authorized by the California State Constitution. It is advised by the Superior Court but is not accountable to elected officials or government employees. Grand jurors are sworn to secrecy and, other than final reports, their work is kept strictly confidential. The reports published by the grand jury are how the results of investigations are reported to the public.
Click Placer County Grand Jury Reports to view the past reports.
In Placer County, the grand jury term runs from July 1 to June 30.
What Are the Grand Jury's Responsibilities?
The Civil Function
In its function as a watchdog on city and county governments and special districts within the county, the grand jury examines several aspects of local government. It has the authority to ascertain how public funds are spent and how spending is documented, it is required to examine the condition of jails and other detention centers, it may examine charges of willful misconduct in office and investigate that type of misconduct. In its final reports, the grand jury also may recommend ways to increase efficiency, improve services to the public and save taxpayer dollars. The grand jury may also commend well-managed departments.
The Criminal Function
The grand jury is asked to perform its criminal function infrequently in Placer County. The district attorney may ask the grand jury to determine whether there is enough evidence to show an individual may have committed a felony crime. A grand jury indictment is not a finding of legal guilt or innocence. Criminal inquiries are conducted in the strictest secrecy, as are all grand jury hearings.
Grand Jury Reports
The reports published by the grand jury are the only method by which the results of grand jury investigations and inspections are reported to the public. A final report is published at the end of the term of a sitting grand jury. It is a compendium of the individual reports of investigations conducted during the term. Individual reports may be published prior to the end of the term.
The grand jury also publishes the responses to the grand jury reports. When a grand jury publishes a report, it may or may not require a response from the subject of the investigation. These responses are required by California Penal code and are published and released publicly. Responses to reports are found in the same section as each term’s final report.
Click Placer County Grand Jury Reports to view past reports.
What Complaints Does a Grand Jury Investigate?
Important Things To Know Before Filing A Complaint
- All complaints must be submitted on-line or in writing.
- The grand jury is not required to investigate all complaints received.
- The grand jury does not have jurisdiction over judicial performance, actions of the Superior Court or cases that are pending in the Superior Court. Grievances of this nature must be resolved through the established judicial system.
- The grand jury does not have jurisdiction over any issue that is currently in litigation.
- The grand jury does not have jurisdiction or authority to investigate federal or state agencies or any agency or organization outside Placer County.
- When a complaint is submitted to the grand jury, you will receive notification that it has been received but no further communication may be provided regarding the acceptance or rejection of your complaint.
- You may be asked for additional information or asked to be interviewed in person. Under no circumstances will your identity be made known to the agency or individuals identified in this complaint.
File a Complaint
Confidential Citizen Complaint (submit online)
Confidential Citizen Complaint (print and mail)
- You may submit a complaint directly to the grand jury online.
- You may download and print a blank form to fill out and mail to the address in Grand Jury Contact Information. You may also fill this form out online, print it and mail it.
- The grand jury complaint form is also available in hard copy form through the Executive Office of the Superior Court, 10820 Justice Center Dr., Roseville, most public libraries and many county offices, and can be completed and mailed directly to the grand jury at the address below or dropped off at the grand jury complaint box at the address listed under Grand Jury Contact Information.
Who Can Become a Grand Juror?
Any citizen who is a resident of Placer County may apply to be a grand juror or they may be nominated by a Superior Court Judge. The Superior Court advertises in the spring of each year for grand jury applicants. All citizens wishing to serve on the grand jury must complete a written questionnaire. Qualified applicants are interviewed by the Presiding and Advising Superior Court Judges and the current grand jury foreperson. All applicants are given equal consideration. The grand jury consists of 19 jurors, most of whom are chosen by lot, but typically each year some jurors remain as holdovers. Alternate jurors are also chosen by lot. Grand jurors are sworn in by the Superior Court Judge for a term of one year beginning July 1 and ending June 30 of the following year.
Qualifications for Grand Jury Service
Serving on the Placer County Grand Jury is a significant public service. The Placer County Superior Court welcomes applications from potential grand jurors.
To be considered for grand jury service, you must meet the requirements outlined in California Penal Code Part 2 Title 4 Chapter 2 Section 893:
- You must be a citizen of the United States.
- You must have been a resident of Placer County for one year immediately before being selected.
- You must 18 years of age or older.
- You must be in possession of your natural faculties, be of ordinary intelligence, be of sound judgment, and of fair character.
- You must possess sufficient knowledge of the English language.
You may not serve as a grand juror if:
- You are serving as a trial juror in any court of this state.
- You have been discharged as a grand juror in any court of this state within one year.
- You have been convicted of malfeasance in office or any felony or other high crime.
- You are serving as an elected public officer.
To be successful as a grand juror:
- You must be able to devote 40-50 hours per month in grand jury service.
- You must be able to attend meetings in Auburn. This consists of a minimum of 1 full panel (3 hours) and 3 committee meetings (1 hour each) twice monthly. Other time spent on meetings, writing and research is also required.
- You must be computer literate. You must be able to use Microsoft Outlook for email, an internet browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Google Chrome for research and be able to write and edit documents with Microsoft Word. The ability to use Microsoft Excel or Adobe Acrobat Pro is also helpful.
- You must be available for two days of training provided by the California Grand Jury Association, held in mid- or late-July.
- You should be willing to take a leadership position in at least one committee. The grand jury conducts its business in committees. See Grand Jury FAQs below for a list of committees.
If you would like to be considered for the Placer County Grand Jury, please complete the application.
Grand Jury Application
Placer County Grand jury
11532 B Avenue
Auburn, CA 95603
Phone: (530) 886-5200
Fax: (530) 886-5201
PLACER COUNTY GRAND JURY APPLICATION
You may submit your application directly to the Court Executive Office of the Superior Court online.
Placer County Grand Jury Application (submit online)
- The Court only accepts applications during certain times of the year. The link will be active during that time.
- You may download and print a blank form to fill out and mail to the Court Executive Office of the Superior Court. You may also fill this form out online, print it and mail it. Refer to the last page of the application for details. Placer County Grand Jury Application (print and mail)
- The grand jury application form is also available in hard copy form through the Court Executive Office of the Superior Court and can be completed and mailed directly to the Court Executive Office. Refer to the last page of the application for details.
Grand Jury FAQs
Click on the topics and FAQs below for more information.
- Would I be an effective Grand Juror?
Yes, if you can listen and be objective and work with 18 others toward a common goal. An effective grand juror is eager to learn about local governments and agencies and is committed to public service.
- What type of work will I perform?
Investigate cases assigned to the committees where you serve. Most of the cases will be intended to improve the efficiency or service of local government, or perhaps save taxpayer dollars. This often involves researching the California Penal Code, city or county codes. Inspections of detention facilities throughout the county is also part of the grand jury’s responsibility. Occasionally, there will be an opportunity to serve during a criminal investigation.
- What are the Grand Jury committees?
There are a total of eight committees, listed below. You will be assigned to serve on three of these committees, usually based on your experience and interest.
Grand Jury Committees
- Audit and Finance – Reviews the financial operations of city and county governments and agencies.
- Cities – Examines matters concerning the six incorporated towns or cities within Placer County: Auburn, Colfax, Lincoln, Loomis, Rocklin, and Roseville.
- County Administration – Examines matters concerning the county and its departments and agencies.
- Continuity/Editorial - Ensures communication of information from one grand jury to the next, is responsible for publishing a summary of the responses to the prior grand jury’s reports, and for preparing and publishing the current grand jury final report.
- Criminal Justice – Responsible for monitoring matters involving city and county law enforcement, criminal and juvenile justice systems, and personnel. Routinely inspects all jail and detention facilities in the county and cities.
- Health and Welfare – Responsible for matters concerning physical and mental health services provided by local government, as well as social services in the cities and the county; also inspects the county juvenile detention center.
- Schools and Libraries – Reviews matters concerning schools and school districts, libraries and the County Office of Education. (The Grand Jury does not examine or investigate school curricula.)
- Special Districts – Examines matters concerning special districts within the county and cities, including fire, water, recreational, and Community Service Areas, and other districts.
- Will I need any special knowledge or skills?
You must be computer literate. You should be able to use Microsoft Outlook for email, an internet browser such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Google Chrome for research and be able to write and edit documents with Microsoft Word. The ability to use Microsoft Excel or Adobe Acrobat Pro is also helpful.
- How much time will it take to serve on the Grand Jury?
The term of the grand jury is one year, from July 1 through June 30 of the following year. Typically, you can expect to spend 40-50 hours per month, plus travel time, on jury business. During a typical month, you would be expected to attend 2 full panel meetings and 6 committee meetings and/or field trips. Additional committee meetings or field trips may be scheduled, depending on committee investigations. It is possible to schedule time off for vacations or limited emergencies.
- Would I be paid?
Yes, you will be paid $25 for each full panel meeting and $10 for each committee meeting. You will also be reimbursed for travel mileage based on the current government rate.
- Can I discuss what I do with anyone not on the Grand Jury?
No, all the work you do is confidential until the grand jury’s final report is printed in June, at the end of your term.