Wednesday, December 17, 2014

SAN BERNARDINO: Court seeks civil grand jury applications

Volunteers serve up to five days a week for a year on a civil grand jury that investigates aspects of local governments

 San Bernardino County Superior Court is seeking volunteers to serve as civil grand jurors for the 2015-16 year. The grand jury meets in secret weekly at the San Bernardino Historic Courthouse to investigate aspects of local governments.
San Bernardino County Superior Court is seeking volunteers to serve as civil grand jurors for the July 2015 to June 30, 2016 term.
Volunteer service involves an average of three to five days per week meeting in downtown San Bernardino, according to a San Bernardino County Superior Court news release. Compensation is $25 a day plus meals and mileage.
Potential applicants must be U.S. citizens at least age 18 and San Bernardino County residents for at least a year prior to appointment. The state Penal Code calls for civil grand juries to investigate aspects of local government, and sometimes hear criminal investigation information. Civil juries respond to all signed citizen complaints.
Volunteers may obtain an application by calling 909-387-3820, pick one up at a county courthouse or complete an application online at www/ The application deadline is March 2.
Contact the writer: 951-368-9075 or

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

[Fresno County] How Effective Are Grand Juries? We Ask Fresno County Superior Court Judge Robert Oliver

December 9, 2014
KVPR, Valley Public Radio
By Ezra David Romero and Joe Moore

Note: this links to a radio broadcast where Judge Robert Oliver talks about criminal and civil grand juries, focusing on the latter.
The recent killings of two unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers in Ferguson Missouri and New York City have brought the issue of race and law enforcement to the headlines.
But they’ve also brought the ancient institution of the grand jury to the national spotlight, after similar bodies in both states declined to bring charges against the officers involved.
Some have questioned the effectiveness of these secret panels, yet they remain an important part of our legal system today. The soon-to-retire Judge Robert Oliver of the Fresno County Superior Court joins Valley Edition  host Joe Moore to tell us more about the grand jury system.
Listen here:

[Tehama County] 90 years ago...Grand jury committees file reports

December 9, 2014
Red Bluff Daily News

Note: A bit of history
The county hospital committee of Tehama county grand jury, consisting of Mary E. Campbell, Alice L. Bransford, Henry Kuse, Charles Dicus and F. T. Robson, Monday filed a report with the board of supervisors in which it was stated vast changes for betterment of the county hospital had been the past year, and “We congratulate the supervisors, as well as the county physician, Dr. Walter Gavey for the improvements.”
The improvements, it was pointed out, included a fine garden plot, plastering of the ceiling of the men’s ward, purchasing of pullets, installation of a new poultry house and the building of a brick milkhouse, now under construction.
— Dec. 9, 1914

Sunday, December 7, 2014

[Kern County] What’s the role of a grand jury?

December 6, 2014
The Bakersfield Californian
Letter to the Editor

Confusion regarding the grand jury system is increasing countrywide as the result of resent events in several states. Unfortunately there is a lack of understanding by the media as well as the public at large about what a grand jury is and what the grand jury's role is during an indictment hearing.
As the president of the Kern County Grand Jury Association and past foreman of the 2012-13 Kern County Grand Jury, I wish to reiterate that during a grand jury indictment hearing the grand jury can only look for probable cause when hearing the case presented by the district attorney. The grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence in the matter.
After hearing all evidence presented by the DA, including witness testimony under oath, and after deliberation, the grand jury will present to the presiding judge of the superior court one of two findings: a true bill (probable cause has been determined) or not a true bill (probable cause not determined). Thus ends the involvement of the grand jury in the matter.
Of the 58 counties in California, the Kern County Grand Jury is one of few which does hear indictments. Applications for the 2015-16 KCGJ will be available in January 2015:

Lynn Runyan, President
Kern County Grand Jury Association