Applications are now being accepted for the 2011-12 Yolo County grand jury, which will be impaneled by the Yolo Superior Court on July 1. Applications from residents representing a broad cross-section of the community are encouraged.
The deadline to apply is April 15.
“The California Constitution requires each county to impanel a grand jury every year,” Presiding Judge Dave Rosenberg said in a news release. “The grand jury has broad powers to investigate and report on local government agencies and officials and serves a very important role in our democratic system of government.”
Acting as an independent body, the grand jury’s primary civil function is to review the operations of city and county government as well as other tax-supported agencies and special districts. The grand jury also investigates complaints from citizens, local government officials or government employees.
Based on the reviews and investigations, the grand jury publishes its findings and 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.
To qualify for grand jury service, applicants must be citizens of the United States, 18 years of age or older, must have lived in Yolo County at least one year before selection, have a sufficient knowledge of the English language and be “in possession of your natural faculties, of ordinary intelligence, of sound judgment and fair character,” says a court news release.
Applicants also should have access to electronic communication and use standard software applications.
Citizens do not qualify for service if they are serving as an elected public officer, are currently serving as a trial juror in any court of this state, have been discharged as a grand juror in any California court within one year, or have been convicted of malfeasance in office or any felony or other high crime.
Grand jurors serve for one year, from July 1 through June 30. Applicants should be committed to serving the entire year, with an average time commitment of 25 to 40 hours per month.
Generally, two grand jury meetings are conducted per month, usually in the evening. Additional committee meetings sometimes may be scheduled during business hours. For each day’s attendance, grand jurors are reimbursed at the rate of $15 per day and 51 cents per mile round trip from their home to the meeting location.
There are two training opportunities soon after the new term begins — a half-day session in Woodland and a two-day seminar, sponsored by the California Grand Juror’s Association, in the Sacramento area.
For a grand jury application, contact Jury Services at 725 Court St., Room 303 in Woodland; call (530) 406-6828 or visit http://www.yolo.courts.ca.gov.
“Grand jury service is important work and requires considerable responsibility,” said James B. Perry, Yolo’s court executive officer and jury commissioner. “It is also an exciting opportunity to serve your community and learn more about local government. It can be an incredibly rewarding and satisfying experience.”