Frequently Asked Questions

Jay Hamilton-Roth, 2016-17 Foreperson, Marin County Civil Grand Jury
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General

  • How long is the term of a Civil Grand Juror?

    Jurors are selected to serve for a one year term (July to June).

  • Why should you apply?
    • Satisfaction of being a catalyst for change
    • Intellectual stimulation from creative problem solving and learning about local government and issues
    • Identify issues and make recommendations to save money, improve services, solve problems
    • Be a part of the solution – make Marin even better!
    • Fascinating field trips, including: Juvenile Hall, the Marin County Jail, and San Quentin.
    • Utilizing your skills
    • Meet many elected officials, law enforcement, county leaders
    • Collaborating with 18 other smart and interesting people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Where does the Civil Grand Jury meet?

    The Marin Civil Grand Jury generally meets as a group once per week in a designated room at the Marin Civic Center, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, California 94903. Committees (comprised of Grand Jurors) generally meet once per week at the same location. As reports progress, interviews with those who can provide relevant information are conducted by Grand Jurors either at the Civic Center or at the interviewee’s office.

  • How many reports is the Civil Grand Jury required to publish each year?

    California law requires one Civil Grand Jury report be published per year by each County. Each Civil Grand Jury has the prerogative to decide the number of reports it will publish beyond the one required by law.

  • How much time will I be spending each week on Grand Jury work?

    Depending on the number of reports you and your fellow Grand Jurors decide to initiate, the time commitment varies. On your Grand Jury application you indicate your willingness to work 10+ or 20+ hours/week (which includes Civic Center meetings and researching, writing, and editing documents from home).

  • Are computer skills required?

    Grand Jurors are expected to be computer-literate, having a working knowledge of:

    • email
    • online research
    • word processing

    Specific online tool training for Grand Jurors is provided.

  • Can I take a vacation?

    While the work of each Grand Jury requires a stable core of committed Jurors, there is flexibility for vacations and unforeseen events. All jurors are required to attend the training at the beginning of the Grand Jury term.

  • How are report topics selected?

    At the beginning of the Grand Jury term, the 19 members establish committees that focus on broad topic areas (e.g., health, law, education, finance, environment, etc.). Often investigations are initiated as the result of citizen’s requests for investigations. Each Jury has the power to select whatever topics it feels are important to investigate.

  • What is the difference between a Civil and a Criminal Grand Jury?

    The Civil Grand Jury is effectively a citizens’ watchdog group that investigates county, city and special district governments to insure they are operating efficiently, and administering citizen tax dollars appropriately. The function of a Criminal Grand Jury is to review indictments brought by the County District Attorney to determine if there is sufficient evidence to hold a trial.

  • Is every Grand Juror required to write a report?

    No, every Juror is not required to write a report, though all Jurors contribute to each report in a wide variety of ways. Publishing meaningful reports is an important Grand Jury task and usually one lead writer volunteers to spearhead each report. However, every Juror brings unique skills to the Grand Jury. Other examples of tasks performed by Jurors include conducting research, arranging interviews, conducting interviews, contributing to discussions, taking notes to document various Jury activities, analyzing data, performing leadership roles, and attending tours of San Quentin, County Jail and Juvenile Hall.

  • How can I apply to be a member of the Civil Grand Jury?

    Those interested in applying can call (415) 473-6132 to request an application or go to the Grand Jury website to download one. The deadline for submission of applications is April 22 each year.

  • Who is eligible to serve?

    Any U.S. citizen, 18 years of age or older, who has been a resident of the County for one year immediately before being selected, of intelligence and good character, with a working knowledge of the English language, is eligible to serve on the Civil Grand Jury.

  • What are the Grand Jury’s legal responsibilities?
    • Investigate and report on the operations and records of County officers and departments (Penal Code § 925);
    • Investigate and report on the operations and records of special districts  (Penal Code § 925);
    • Examine the books and records of any incorporated city or joint powers agency in the County (Penal Code § 925a);
    • Inquire into the condition and management of all public prisons within the county (Penal Code § 919b);
    • Inquire into the willful or corrupt misconduct in office of all public officers within the county (Penal Code § 919c);
    • Submit a final report of its findings and recommendations to the Superior Court (Penal Code § 933a).
  • What is the selection process?
    • Complete application (by April 22)
    • If application is approved, a two-step interview process (May): interview with two former jurors and a group exercise.
    • If pass interview, attend random drawing in courtroom (June). After juror 19 is chosen, those left become alternates.
    • New jurors immediately sworn in
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