Monday, July 4, 2011

Newest (Glenn County) grand jury takes its place

Friday, Jul 1 2011, 5:26 pm
By Rick Longley/Tri-County Newspapers

Glenn County Superior Court judges praised citizens for their public service Tuesday as they impaneled a new county grand jury for 2011-12.

The ceremony in the old Willows courthouse was attended by a small group of people as Judges Don Byrd and Peter Twede called the 19 jurors to their seats.

However, the serious business of the jury was foremost on everyone's minds as the judges discussed the activities the jury will engage in during the course of the year.

Nine jurors from 2010-11 were held over to provide guidance to the newcomers.

They included jury forewoman Cynthia Hunt who took the reins from outgoing foreman Paul Randall.

"The Grand Jury is a jury more than a juror," Randall said, noting the work of the body was a collective effort and it performed a great deal of work.

He also thanked Virginia Freeman for serving as the sergeant at arms and Ann Lambert for her service as jury secretary.

Other outgoing jurors said little as they completed their terms because the Grand Jury's investigations are done in secret and they are not allowed to comment on their work, except through the final report, the judges said.

Last year's jury members each received a plaque for their services along with a personal copy of the final report.

"I know it is not enough for your community service," Byrd said. "But it is a token of appreciation."

For her part, Hunt thanked Randall for his leadership and said it was a honor to serve as the new Foreperson.

The holdovers all chose to remain on the job, Twede said, but they cannot serve for more than two years in a row.

Twede said Juror Claire Arano had served on the Grand Jury a few years ago, but then stepped aside for a while before rejoining it in 2010-11.

She is continuing with the work for 2011-12 and is being re-joined by Margaret Ansel, Mark Bauska, Doc Bill, Wilfred Burns, Lester Messina and Tami Thompson-Beauchamp.

Those leaving the jury are Lambert, Freeman, Randall, Natalie Butler, John Fleming, John Joyce, Peter Loh, Lynn MacLean, Lester Mikeworth and Cindy Yarbrough.

New members are John Flemming, Franko Alberico, Jose Lopez, Michael Hicks, Jennifer Flowerdew, Erica Baylor, Bobbe Lewis, Carol Turner, Floyd Morrill, Stephen Shoop and Tony Mello.

Twede explained grand juries go back to colonial times and are charged with examining the conduct of local officials on county and city boards, councils or bureaus to ensure they are providing ethical stewardship of local bodies.

Today, they also may hand down criminal indictments as was the case with one matter last year.

On the civil side, the jury's findings are not binding on the elected or appointed officials, Twede said, but its final report goes to the Board of Supervisors and any other agency investigated.

Responses from the board or agencies are required within 90 days.

Following the swearing in ceremony, the grand jury convened for its first meeting Tuesday evening.

Contact Rick Longley at 934-6800 or

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