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CoCo civil grand jury seeks pitbulls, er, volunteers

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Thursday, February 23rd, 2012 at 7:22 pm in Contra Costa County, Contra Costa politics, Uncategorized.

The Contra Costa Civil Grand Jury is looking for watchdogs with a strong bite and a willingness to growl at public agencies who stray from the ranch.

And heaven knows the county’s residents need you what with the steady decline in the numbers of the press corps.

The application deadline is April 13. Read below for all the details.

GRAND JURY: The Contra Costa County Superior Court is accepting applications for Civil Grand Jury Service for the fiscal year 2012-2013 term.

The Civil Grand Jury is made up of 19 members who serve for one year, July
through June, to monitor, review and report on city and county governments, special districts and school districts.

“Grand Juries are the citizen watchdogs of civic functions,” says current Grand Jury Foreperson Lloyd Bell. “All county citizens have the authority to call the juries’ attention to issues within their governmental agencies that they think should be reviewed .”

Every effort is made to ensure that the Grand Jury reflects the makeup of the residents of the county. Approximately 60 applicants will be selected to be interviewed by ‘the Grand Jury Selection Committee, which is composed of Superior Court Judges.

After interviews, the judges will nominate approximately 30 applicants to constitute a grand jury pool from which the final panel of 19 will be selected by random drawing.

Individuals selected for service will be expected to be available during the last two weeks of June to meet with outgoing jurors, tour county facilities, meet with department heads, become familiar with their colleagues, learn about juror responsibilities and procedures, and select committees on which they will serve.

Grand jurors must be a United States citizen, 18 years of age or older, who have been a resident of Contra Costa County for at least one year prior to selection.  They cannot currently hold any elected position within the county. Applicants should have reliable transportation to Martinez, and must be prepared to devote at least 20 hours per week to Civil Grand Jury service.

Citizens who work should apply only if they can be released from their jobs to perform the jury duties. Applicants selected as one of the 30 nominees will be fingerprinted before the drawing.

Jurors receive a stipend for attending full jury and committee meetings and are reimbursed for allowable jury travel. Parking permits are provided to park in the City of Martinez while performing Grand Jury duties.

Persons interested in applying may contact the Office of the Civil Grand Jury at (925) 957-5638, or visit the website at to receive additional information regarding service on the Civil Grand Jury and to obtain an application.


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  • Common Tater

    The pitbull analogy is more than a little inaccurate since the Civil Grand Jury has no teeth. What they do have is a forum which can be safely ignored. As an example, the Grand Jury has called for the dissolution of the Mt Diablo Health Care DIstrict four times.

    The effect of that effort was zero.

  • John W.

    Thank goodness for the civil grand jury. If not for them, county budgets and pensions would be out of control. Obsolete agencies would still be hanging around. Agencies and special districts would be unaccountable.

  • JAFO

    @Common Tater: You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, no matter how uninformed it might be. However, in this case, your specious conclusion suggests you’ve never served on a grand jury, or worse, bothered to do any research on just how many grand jury recommendations have been implemented over the years. Interestingly, the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association went out of its way to compliment past grand juries on the influence their reports eventually had on LAFCO’s recent decision to finally dissolve the Mt. Diablo Health Care District. It often takes time, but grand juries can and do make a difference. Consider grand jury service yourself, “Mr. Tater.” You might learn something.