Sunday, February 5, 2017

[Kern County] Grand Jury Awareness Week

February is Grand Jury Awareness Month in California.
California is the only state in the union in which the State Constitution requires each of the 58 counties in California to maintain a Grand Jury! All 58 counties have the required Civil Grand Juries in place. A handful of counties, including Kern Co, have sitting juries which are dual, civil & criminal.
February 7th @ 9:00AM the Kern County Board of Supervisors will proclaim that week as Kern County Grand Jury Awareness week; they have done so for the previous 20+ years.
February 9th @ 9:30AM at the Liberty Bell in front of the Superior Court Building ( KCGJ offices take up half of the 6th floor of that building) there will be a Grand Jury Awareness Week program with speeches by several court & county dignitaries.  [KGET has reported on this event several years.]
February 11th @ 6:00PM will be Grand Jury Awareness Night with the Condors at the Condors vs San Jose hockey game. A KCGJ recruitment information and applications table will be in the lobby.
February 17-19th at the Bakersfield Home and Garden Show at the fairgrounds the KCGJ will have a recruitment info & application booth in building 3. The booth will be manned daily by both KCGJ & KCGJA members.
Annually KCGJ Recruitment occurs mid-January to approximately April 1st.
Applications are only available and accepted during that time period. Applications are reviewed by the Superior Court lesion and all applicants MUST attend an overview meeting in mid-April. That will be followed by a complete background check and an interview by a Superior Court Judge.
IF the judge nominates the applicant their name will be placed in a blind draw the first Tuesday in June. 30 names will be drawn at that time. Those drawn will receive a subpoena to be at the final draw the 3rd week in June.
The Final Draw is also a blind draw conducted by Grand Jury Commissioner, Terry McNally, in the courtroom of the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court. At that time 19 names will be drawn for the 2017-18 KCGJ, as well as about 7 alternate jurors. Those persons will be sworn in at that time and their KCGJ service will begin July 2017-June 2018, four days a week, 5 hours a day.
The KCGJ is the "Watch Dog" of the county funds. Are all entities of the county  using the funds received from county taxpayers properly? There are five standing committees on the KCGJ: Administration & Audit; Cities & Joint Powers; Special Districts; Health, Education & Social Services and Law & Justice.  The vast majority o:***f what the GJ does is investigation into the use of county funds.
Occasionally the County DA, Lisa Green, or the State Attorney General will bring a case to the GJ for an indictment hearing. Indictments can last from a couple of days to several weeks.
February 2, 2017
Kern Golden Empire

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