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Colusa County Grand Jury

2013 - 2014 Colusa County Grand Jury Report
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  • Colusa County Grand Jury
  • Mailing address: 532 Oak Street
  • Telephone: (530) 458-0683
  • Fax: (530) 458-2904

Colusa County Grand Jury

The U.S. Constitution Fifth Amendment and the California Constitution call for Grand Juries. The Grand Jury is a part of the judicial branch of government. Consisting of nineteen (19) citizens, it is an arm of the court, yet an entirely independent body. The Presiding Judge of the Superior Court, the District Attorney, the County Counsel, and the State Attorney General act as its advisors.
The Colusa County Grand Jury is a volunteer, fact-finding body that has the potential to make constructive changes and suggest meaningful solutions to a wide range of local government problems. It is composed of nineteen (19) members elected by ballot from a pool of volunteers and nominees of the court. An attempt is made to impanel a jury that represents a diversity of men and women from socioeconomic, ethnic, age, educational background and geographical areas of the county.

Duties

The primary function of the Grand Jury is the examination of statutorily designated aspects of city government, county government, special districts, redevelopment agencies, local agency formation commissions, housing authorities, joint powers agencies, and non-profit agencies established by or operated on behalf of a public entity. In general, the Grand Jury is assigned the task of assuring honest, efficient government in the best interest of the citizens of Colusa County.
The Grand Jury is also authorized, but not limited to:
  • Inquire into any charges of willful misconduct in office by public officials or employees.
  • Inquire into conditions of jails and detention centers.
  • Inspect and audit books, records, and financial expenditures of all agencies and departments under their jurisdiction, including special districts and non-profit organizations, to insure that public funds are properly accounted for and legally spent.
Members of the Grand Jury are sworn to secrecy and most of the jury's work is conducted in closed session. All testimony and deliberations are confidential. Breach of confidentiality is a misdemeanor punishable under the penal code.
Grand Jurors may act only through the Grand Jury as a body. Individually, they have no official standing, power, or authority. A Grand Juror may take no official action without prior approval and authorization of a majority of the Grand Jury. The foreperson is the only official spokesman for the Grand Jury.
The Grand Jury has three (3) ways to exercise it's power:
  1. Reports: Written reports evaluating the actions of governmental agencies with recommendations for improvement, when no crime is charged.
  2. Indictments: Formal written complaints charging a person with a crime.
  3. Accusations: Formal written complaints accusing a governmental employee or officer with misconduct. These are similar to indictments except that conviction would result in removal of the public officer from office rather than criminal penalties.

Citizens' Complaints

The Grand Jury receives many letters from citizens alleging mistreatment by officials, suspicions of misconduct, or governmental inefficiencies. Anyone may ask the Grand Jury to conduct an investigation. All complaints, of any nature are confidential. The jury generally limits investigations to the operations of governmental agencies, charges of wrong doing within public agencies, or the performance of unlawful acts by public officials. The Grand Jury cannot investigate disputes between private parties.

All complaints must be made in writing, signed and date. To ensure fair and proper consideration, a complaint should include the address and telephone number of the complainant, as well as a complete description of the concern. A request for Grand Jury investigation should include sufficient detail and factual evidence to support the complaint. Complaint form can be filed by writing to: Colusa County Grand Jury, 532 Oak Street, Colusa, California 95932.

Grand Jury Complaint Form

Requirements to Become a Grand Juror

A grand Juror must meet all of the following qualifications:
  • Be a citizen of the United States.
  • Be at least eighteen (18) years old.
  • Be a resident of Colusa County for a least a year immediately prior to selection.
  • Exhibit intelligence, sound judgment and good character.
  • Possess sufficient knowledge of the English language to communicate both orally and in writing.
  • Must not be serving as a trial juror in any California court.
  • Cannot have been discharged as a Grand Juror in any California court within one (1) year of the beginning date of service.
  • Cannot have been convicted of malfeasance in office, any felony or other high crime.
  • Cannot be serving as an elected public official.
Other desirable qualities:
  • Interested in how local government works and how it can operate more effectively.
  • Willing to cooperate with eighteen (18) others in creating and working toward common goals.
  • Serve from four (4) to ten (10) hours a week for one year (July 1 - June 30).
  • Willing to learn (or already have ) the skills of listening, asking thoughtful questions, reviewing document, and helping to write reports.
  • Exercise strict confidentiality during and after your term as a grand juror.

  • Kevin Harrigan
  • Court Executive Officer
  • Superior Court of California, County of Colusa
  • 532 Oak Street
  • Colusa, California 95932


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