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Civil grand jury
Beware of
Jury Duty Scam!

For more information,
click to read:
Jury Scam Alert 

WHY BECOME A GRAND JUROR?

Those who are asked to serve on the Grand Jury feel privileged to be selected. They enter this service with interest and curiosity in learning more about the administration and operation of the government in the county in which they live.

Although serving as a Grand Juror consumes many hours, those who serve are willing to give their time for the betterment of the government which, in truth, belongs to them.

If and when you are asked to serve as a Grand Juror, step up to your responsibility, accept the appointment and represent the community in which you live.

For additional information, including how to contact the Grand Jury, click to see the Court's Civil Grand Jury brochure .

 

About the Civil Grand Jury:

Current Members
Grand Jury Investigations
Submitting a Confidential Complaint
Grand Jury Reports
History
Functions
Remuneration
Qualifications
Selection Process
Orientation
Commitment
Recruitment

Current Members: List of 2023 Civil Grand Jury members 

2023 Demographic Data 

Grand Jury Investigations:  

Any person may submit a complaint form to request a Civil Grand Jury investigation. While the Civil Grand Jury may not investigate all complaints received, the Civil Grand Jury functions as an investigative body and does examine complaints into actions or performance of city, county agencies or public officials.

The jurisdiction of the Civil Grand Jury is limited by statute and includes the following:

  • Consideration of evidence of misconduct against public officials to determine whether to present formal accusations requesting their removal from office
  • Inquiry into the condition and management of public prisons within the county
  • Investigation and report on the operations, accounts, and records of the officers, departments, or functions of the county including those operations, accounts, and records of any special legislative district or other district in the county pursuant to state law for which the officers of the county are serving in their ex officio capacity as officers of the districts
  • May investigate the books and records of any incorporated city or joint powers agency located in the county

The Civil Grand Jury has no jurisdiction to investigate State or Federal government agencies, the Courts, or matters outside Santa Clara County.

Submitting a Confidential Complaint:  

All complaints are confidential and there are several ways to submit the required Complaint Form.

The Complaint Form may be transmitted to the Civil Grand Jury online. Please note, if the online submission tool is utilized, there is no need to submit a separate printable form.

You have the following options to access the Civil Grand Jury Complaint forms:

Printable Complaint Form in English
 
Printable Complaint Form in Spanish
 
Online Complaint Form

All complaints are kept confidential and may be the basis for an official Civil Grand Jury report.

If you wish to use a printable complaint form, please enter your information and use one of the following methods of submission:

  • Download the completed complaint form and send the downloaded file to cgj@scscourt.org as an email attachment.
  • Print the form and mail it to: Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury, Superior Court, 191 North First Street, San José, CA 95113
  • Print the form and deposit it in the drop box in the lobby of 201 N. First Street: Attn: Britney Huelbig, Deputy Manager – Administration, 201 North First Street, San José, CA 95113

When preparing to submit a complaint form, please attach any/all items that support the facts of the complaint. Each submission should include enough factual information to clearly define the issue and, where possible, detailed evidence supporting the complaint. Please print clearly and, if the complaint form will be scanned and emailed, please refrain from using pencil, as it can be difficult to capture in an electronic format. If you wish to keep a record of your online complaint, print the complaint before selecting the submit button.

The filing of a complaint with the Civil Grand Jury does not prevent the filing of a private lawsuit, seeking a judgment in Small Claims Court, or requesting assistance from any other outside agency.

The Civil Grand Jury will not take any action on behalf of an individual in order to obtain money owed, to help cancel a debt due, or procure any other personal relief.

Should there be questions about this form, please call 408-882-2721 or email cgj@scscourt.org for assistance.


Grand Jury Reports:  

Final 2022 Reports (and agency responses, in blue, below reports)

  1. If You Only Read the Ballot, You're Being Duped 

  2. Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Santa Clara City Council 

  3. Continuity Report 

  4. Garbage In, Garbage Out: Santa Clara County Public Contract Data 

  5. Show Me the Money: Financial Transparency Needed 

  6. A House Divided: Cupertino City Council and City Staff 

  7. Conservatorships: A Case for Zealous Advocacy 

2001-2021 Final Reports & Agency Responses: see Archive page

Information about the Civil Grand Jury:

History

The concept of juries is thought to date back as early as the eighth century. By 1215, the jury concept had evolved into a guarantee expressed in the Magna Carta that no freeman would be “imprisoned or [dispossessed] or exiled or in any way destroyed...except by the lawful judgment of his peers….”

In the United States, the Massachusetts Bay Colony impaneled the first grand jury in 1635 to consider cases of murder and robbery, among other crimes. The U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment calls for grand juries and Section 23 of Article 1 of the California Constitution requires that a grand jury "be drawn and summoned at least once a year in each county." 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 government, an arm of the court.

Functions of the Grand Jury

The responsibilities and authority of the Civil Grand Jury are specified in the California Constitution, the Penal Code, the Government Code, case law, and Attorney General opinions. The Civil Grand Jury is an investigatory body created for the protection of society and the enforcement of the law. Although the responsibilities of a grand juror are many and diverse, the predominant functions include:

Civil Watchdog Responsibilities

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

  • Inspect and audit books, records and financial expenditures to ensure that public funds are properly accounted for and legally spent
  • Inspect financial records of 27 special districts in Santa Clara County
  • Inquire into the conditions of jails and detention centers
  • Inquire into charges of willful misconduct in office by public officials or employees

Most Civil Grand Jury “watchdog” findings are contained in reports describing problems encountered and making recommendations for solutions. During its term, the Civil Grand Jury may issue final reports on the operations of Santa Clara County government entities and officials. Every entity/official that is the subject of a final report must comment upon the Civil Grand Jury’s recommendations.


Public Complaints
The Civil Grand Jury may receive complaints from members of the public raising concerns about local government or its officials. These complaints are acknowledged and may be the basis of a Grand Jury investigation and report. All complaints are kept confidential.

Remuneration

Grand Jurors receive per diem for meetings and Grand Jury activities, as well as mileage reimbursement.

Qualifications

Prospective grand jurors must possess the following qualifications per Penal Code Section 893:

  • Be a citizen of the United States of the age of 18 years or older who shall have been a resident of the county for one year immediately before being selected
  • Be in possession of his or her natural faculties, or ordinary intelligence, of sound judgment and of fair character
  • Possess sufficient knowledge of the English language

A person is NOT competent to act as a grand juror if any of the following apply:

  • The person is serving as a trial juror in any court of this state
  • The person has been discharged as a grand juror in any court of this state within one year
  • The person has been convicted of malfeasance in office or any felony or other high crime
  • The person is serving as an elected public official

Desirable qualifications for a grand juror include the following:

  • Open-mindedness, with concern for the views of others
  • Ability to work with others
  • Genuine interest in community affairs
  • Investigative skills and an ability to write reports

Selection Process

Once each year, Superior Court judicial officers seek volunteers to apply for service on the Civil Grand Jury. The Superior Court judicial officers nominate thirty prospective grand jurors from the pool of applicants, divided among the county’s supervisorial districts. These people are invited to appear before the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court at a ceremony open to all. At that time, with the outgoing Civil Grand Jury in attendance, sufficient names are drawn randomly to form a panel of 19. The Presiding Judge often designates one or more outgoing Grand Jurors to “hold over” and serve on the subsequent year’s Civil Grand Jury. All 19 members are then sworn in and given a description of their duties and responsibilities by the Presiding Judge. Grand Jurors serve a minimum term of one year.

Orientation

At the beginning of each term, an orientation program and training about service on the Civil Grand Jury is provided to those selected.

Pursuant to California Penal Code Section 911, the following oath is administered to members of the Civil Grand Jury:  “I do solemnly swear (affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and of the State of California, and all laws made pursuant to and in conformity therewith, will diligently inquire into, and true presentment make, of all public offenses against the people of this state, committed or triable within this county, of which the grand jury shall have or can obtain legal evidence. Further, I will not disclose any evidence brought before the grand jury, nor anything which I or any other grand juror may say, nor the manner in which I or any other grand juror may have voted on any matter before the grand jury. I will keep the charge that will be given to me by the court.”

Commitment

Persons selected for Civil Grand Jury service must make a time commitment of an average of 25 hours per week for a period of one fiscal year (July 1 – June 30). This time commitment may fluctuate depending on the role of the individual on the panel, holidays, and the time of year.

Recruitment

The Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara will be recruiting qualified applicants next winter. To be added to the interest list to learn more, please email CGJ@scscourt.org.

To learn more about service on the Civil Grand Jury, please review the Civil Grand Jury brochure or email CGJ@scscourt.org with questions.

You have the following options to access the 2024-2025 Civil Grand Jury Application and Nomination Form:

Printable Application Form
 
Online Application Form

If you wish to submit a printable application form, please enter your information and use one of the following methods of submission:

  • Download the completed form and send the downloaded file to cgj@scscourt.org as an email attachment.
  • Print the form and mail it to: Office of the Civil Grand Jury, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, Attn: Britney Huelbig, 191 North First Street, San José, CA 95113
  • Print the form and deposit it in the drop box in the lobby of 201 N. First Street: Attn: Britney Huelbig, Deputy Manager – Administration, 201 North First Street, San José, CA 95113

Attachments, including the required resume or statement of qualifications, can also be printed and submitted using the steps above.

 

 

 

 

 

© 2024 Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara