Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Merced County civil grand jury releases its report

Merced Sun-Star staff

The mission of the civil grand jury is to act as the public watchdog by investigating and reporting on the affairs of agencies such as county and city governments, special districts and school districts.

The jury also addresses complaints of mistreatment, misconduct or inefficiency and makes recommendations on how to address and correct those problems.

Of the 16 complaints received by the grand jury from 2011 to 2012, six were investigated and given various degrees of recommendations, while 10 were dismissed.

As mandated by law, the grand jury inspected the county's correctional facilities, and the Merced and Dos Palos police stations. The grand jury conducted three ride-alongs with Merced police, Atwater police and Merced County Sheriff's deputies.

Jurors are interviewed by a Merced County Superior Court judge and Linda Romero Soles, court executive officer. The judge decides on the 30 finalists, and 19 jurors and four alternates are picked in open court by a random selection process.

In Merced County, if criminal indictments need to be made, a separate criminal grand jury is convened, according to the county's website.

Jurors must meet the same qualifications as a trial juror and the term of office is one year.

To review the entire grand jury report and its findings, go to

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