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MONTEREY COUNTY — Many residents have never heard of a Civil Grand Jury, or if they have, they know little about its purpose. In California, a Civil Grand Jury is required in each of the 58 counties.

Looking for effectiveness and efficiency, Civil Grand jurors are watchdogs over the actions of city and county officials. Jurors are appointed by the Superior Court and serve for one year. 

The Civil Grand Jury (CGJ) is an independent body that follows up on complaints from citizens, conducts investigations under the auspices of the Court, and has broad access to public officials, employees and records. 

Once a topic is selected for an investigation, the CGJ conducts interviews, researches the subject and, if warranted, writes a report containing specific recommendations for improving government operations and responsiveness.

In this way, the Grand Jury acts as a representative of county residents in promoting government accountability. The local government is required to respond to both the findings and recommendations in writing within a specific period.

The law requires the Superior Court to ensure that each incoming Grand Jury receives training on conducting watchdog investigations and writing Grand Jury reports. Most Grand Juries are given a local orientation in addition to attending training provided by the California Grand Jury Association.

Members receive a stipend and travel reimbursement during their year of service.

The Civil Grand Jury encourages people from all walks of life to participate, bringing a broad range of interests, talents and life experiences. The diversity of members is one of the jury’s greatest strengths. 

Serving on the CGJ is a rewarding experience for anyone interested in learning more about local government and identifying areas for improvement and accountability.

Residents who would like to know more about serving on the Grand Jury or submitting a complaint, visit tinyurl.com/f88jfa3z.

The application period for the 2024-25 CGJ runs from March 4 to May 3.

Information Sessions are scheduled for May 8 at 2 p.m. at Monterey Court House, Jury Assembly Room; May 9 at 2 p.m. at Salinas Court House, Jury Assembly Room; and May 10 at 10:30 a.m. at King City Courthouse.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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