Grand Jury
The Grand Jury currently meets at the Jury Assembly Room.

The U.S. Constitution and the California Constitution call for grand juries. California, during the early years of statehood, established grand juries.

Grand Jury Functions

The Tuolumne County Grand Jury is an investigatory body created for the protection of people and the enforcement of the law. Three predominant functions of the Tuolumne County Grand Jury include:

Civil Government Oversight

The grand jury may examine all aspects of county government, city government, and special districts to ensure the best interests of Tuolumne County citizens are being served. The grand jury reviews and evaluates procedures, methods, and systems used by county government to determine whether more efficient and economical programs may be employed. The grand jury may:

  • 1. Inspect and audit books, records, and financial expenditures to ensure that public funds are properly accounted for and legally spent;

  • 2. Inspect financial records of districts in Tuolumne County;

  • 3. Inquire into the conditions of jails and detention centers; and/or

  • 4. Inquire into any charges of willful misconduct in office by public officials or employees.

Most oversight findings by the Grand Jury are published in an annual Grand Jury Report, describing problems encountered and making recommendations for solutions. You may visit www.tuolumnecounty.ca.gov to view past and current reports and responses.

Citizen Complaints

As part of the civil function, the Tuolumne County Grand Jury receives letters from citizens alleging mistreatment by officials, suspicions of misconduct, or governmental inefficiencies. Complaints received are acknowledged and investigated for their validity. Such complaints are kept confidential. If the situation warrants, and corrective action is under the jurisdiction of the Grand Jury, appropriate action is taken.

Criminal Investigations

Occasionally, and under certain circumstances, a special Criminal Grand Jury may be selected to hold hearings to determine whether evidence presented by the district attorney is of sufficient nature to warrant a person to stand trial in court.

Reports

The Tuolumne County Grand Jury issues its final Report each year in late June. The Report is available to all county residents, and is delivered to the news media and to heads of affected government agencies. Affected agencies are required to respond to the findings and recommendations within 60 to 90 days. The Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors must comment on the jury’s recommendations within 90 days. The responses of the affected agencies are also available to the public. Current and recent Grand Jury Reports and responses are available on Tuolumne County's Web site at www.tuolumne.co.ca.us.

COMMITTEES


The Tuolumne County Grand Jurors are citizens from throughout the county. In order to accomplish the county oversight functions, committees are normally established to address:

  • County finance and administration

  • County services and special districts

  • Joint powers

  • Health, education, and welfare

  • Law, justice, and public safety

  • Complaint review

Contact Information

Tuolumne County Grand Jury
60 North Washington St.
Sonora, California  95370

Grand Jury Website: www.tuolumnecounty.ca.gov

(209) 533-5568
Fax (209) 533-5581
E-mail: tcgjforeman@mlode.com

The Complaint Process

The Tuolumne County Grand Jury is responsive to the suggestions and complaints from citizens about issues the jury should investigate. Each suggestion or complaint is reviewed by the full Grand Jury, or assigned to one of the jury’s committees for consideration. Though the Grand Jury cannot investigate every issue, each suggestion or complaint is duly considered. All complaints received by the Grand Jury are treated confidentially. The Grand Jury’s records may not be inspected nor subpoenaed.   All Grand Jury investigations and interviews are kept confidential.

Submitting a Complaint

How to submit a complaint for investigation by the Tuolumne County Grand Jury:

  1. Download the complaint form from the Tuolumne County Grand Jury Website : Complaint Form

  2. Print and complete the form.

  3. Submit the completed form to:

Tuolumne County Grand Jury
60 North Washington St.
Sonora, CA 95370

What is the Grand Jury?

The Tuolumne County Grand Jury:

  • Is an independent body of 19 people, serving as an arm of the court.

  • Serves as a full body committee, as well as on individual committees.

  • Operates with a court-appointed foreperson that facilitates the activities of the Jury and acts as its spokesperson.

  • Grand Jurors serve voluntarily for one year beginning July 1.

What are the requirements to be on the Grand Jury?

Grand Jury service is a serious commitment. A Grand Juror must maintain:

  • Impartiality

  • Open-mindedness and patience

  • Willingness to work as a member of a team

  • Respect for the opinions of others.

Legal requirements are:

  • Age minimum of 18 years

  • Residency in the State of California and the County of Tuolumne

  • United States citizenship  for one year before being selected

  • Verbal and written proficiency in the English language

Desired knowledge and skills:

  • Knowledge of the operation of local government.

  • Ability to analyze information, draft reports, and actively participate in investigations.

A person will not be able to serve if he or she:

  • Is currently serving as a trial juror in any court of this state.

  • Has been discharged as a Grand Juror in any court of this state within one year.

  • Has been convicted of a felony, malfeasance in office, or other high crimes.

What are the Responsibilities of the Grand Jury?

Grand Jury responsibilities:

  • The Grand Jury has statutory authority to investigate and report on the accounts, records, operations, and functions of district, city, and county governments and public officials.

  • Reviews citizen's complaints for possible investigation and reporting.

  • Tours the detention facilities in the county, including the Sierra Conservation Center.

  • In cooperation with the District Attorney's Office, issues criminal indictments.

  • Must produce a final Report before the end of the term.

  • Persons selected for the Grand Jury must make a commitment for a full year, and be prepared to serve at least 6 hours a week.

How are Grand Jurors selected?

Grand Jury selection process:

  • A grand jury candidate pool is developed from voter registration and Department of Motor Vehicle records, as well as interested individuals nominated by the Superior Court Judges.

  • 1500 grand jury questionnaires are mailed to randomly selected individuals in the Jury candidate pool.

  • The Jury Clerk collates returned grand jury questionnaires. Questionnaires with an expressed desire to serve are passed along to the Advising Judge.

  • The Advising Judge reviews the questionnaires and comprises a list of applicants. Every effort is made to recruit both men and women from all socio-economic levels, ethnic, and age groups. Applicants are judged on the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for successful performance as a Grand Juror. This screening process will identify approximately 90 applicants for further consideration. Those applicants who appear to be qualified will be invited to an interview. 

  • By a personal interview of those applicants, the advising Judge ascertains their qualifications to serve and forms a grand juror pool sufficient in number for the incoming Grand Jury.

  • The persons selected will constitute the grand jury panel and a random drawing from this panel is held to select the nineteen members and 15 alternates of the next Grand Jury.

  • Shortly before the beginning of the grand jury term of service, July 1 through June 30, an orientation process is conducted. The foreperson is selected by the Advising Judge of the Superior Court, with all other officers selected by the Jury itself.

Are Grand Jurors paid for their services?

Grand Jurors are paid $15 per diem for each Grand Jury meeting, plus mileage.  Grand Jurors are not paid the per diem for individual committee meetings.

Who advises the Grand Jury?

The Grand Jury may rely on the following as advisors:

  • Advising Judge

  • District Attorney

  • County Counsel

  • Attorney General

Where does the Grand Jury meet?

The Grand Jury meets in the Grand Jury meeting room in a designated space determined by the Superior Court of California, County of Tuolumne or the County of Tuolumne.

© 2009 Superior Court of California, County of Tuolumne