Table of Contents


Functions of the Civil Grand Jury

The U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment and the California Constitution call for Grand Juries.  Grand Juries were established throughout California during the early years of statehood.  As constituted today, the Grand Jury is a part of the judicial branch of the government, an arm of the court.

The Grand Jury is an investigatory body created for the protection of society and the enforcement of the law.  Although the responsibilities of a juror are many and diverse, the two predominant functions include:

CIVIL WATCHDOG RESPONSIBILITIES

This is the major function of present-day grand jurors, and considerable effort is devoted to these responsibilities.  The Grand Jury may examine all aspects of county and city government and special districts to ensure that the best interests of Amador County citizens are being served.  The Grand Jury reviews and evaluates procedures, methods and systems utilized by county government entities to determine whether more efficient and economical programs may be employed.  The Grand Jury is also authorized to:

Most Grand Jury “watchdog” functions are contained in reports describing problems encountered and making recommendations for solutions.  During its term, the Grand Jury issues final reports on the operations of Amador County government.  The County Board of Supervisors must comment upon the Grand Jury’s recommendations.

CITIZEN COMPLAINTS

As part of its civil function, the Grand Jury receives many letters from citizens alleging mistreatment by officials, suspicions of misconduct, or governmental inefficiencies.  Complaints received from citizens are acknowledged and investigated for their validity.  Such complaints are kept confidential.  If the situation warrants, and corrective action is under the jurisdiction of the Grand Jury, appropriate action is taken.