What is the Grand Jury?
The civil Grand Jury is a division of the Superior Court, keeping watch over numerous government agencies, cities and districts throughout Santa Barbara County. A separate criminal Grand Jury is formed by random draw from trial jury lists, when necessary to decide criminal indictments.
Who are Grand Jurors?
Grand Jurors are a diverse volunteer group of citizens from the five supervisorial districts. The community is best served by a mix of ethnic, gender, age and economic differences.
What does the Grand Jury do?
The Grand Jury may investigate, evaluate and make recommendations to any city, county or special district agency that receives county funds. California law requires the Grand Jury to inspect County and city jails and detention facilities, and to review County financial accounts and records. The Grand Jury relies on its own discretion and citizens’ suggestions to determine other issues to investigate.
How does the Grand Jury do its work?
The Presiding Judge of the Superior Court each July impanels 19 Grand Jurors to serve for one year, fulfilling the duties as outlined under state law. The judge appoints a foreperson who presides over the jury. The Grand Jury elects other officers and organizes itself. The Grand Jury meets in a weekly general session. Smaller investigative committees meet throughout the week.
How do I submit my concerns to the Grand Jury?
The Grand Jury is responsive to the suggestions and complaints from citizens about issues the jury should investigate. Each suggestion is reviewed by the full Grand Jury, or assigned to one of the jury’s committees for consideration. You can contact the Grand Jury through mail, phone, fax and email. Though the jury cannot investigate every issue, every comment is duly considered.
Will my comments to the Grand Jury be kept secret?
Grand Jurors are sworn to secrecy to protect the confidentiality of citizens who bring complaints against local government. The Grand Jury’s records may not be inspected nor subpoenaed. All Grand Jury investigations and interviews are kept secret.
How does the Grand Jury release its reports?
The Grand Jury issues its final report each year in late June. The report is available to all county residents, and is delivered to the news media and to heads of affected government agencies. Affected agencies are required to respond to the report findings and recommendations within 60 to 90 days. Those responses are also available to the public. The Grand Jury may release individual reports as they are completed over the year. Grand Jury reports and responses are now available on the World Wide Web at http://www.sbcgj.org.
* The above information was produced by the 1995-96 Santa Barbara County Grand Jury.
For more information please visit the Grand Jury Web Site .