Applications for service are received by the Jury Commissioner and reviewed by the Presiding Judge. Effort is made to impanel an ideal jury of qualified men and women of diverse socio-economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds representing all geographical areas of the county, as well as age groups. By court policy, and at the discretion of the Presiding Judge, up to seven members of the previous year's jury may serve a second term to provide continuity. A total of 19 people serve on the Grand Jury. From the remaining candidates, a drawing is held to provide for alternates.
Some subjects to be investigated are brought about by letters from citizens regarding complaints of alleged mistreatment by officials, suspicion of misconduct or governmental inefficiencies. All complaints are kept confidential. If the situation warrants, and after investigation, the Grand Jury may make appropriate recommendations for action.
A large portion of the public mistakenly believes that when an individual appears before the Grand Jury, particularly a public official, there is a suspicion of malfeasance or misfeasance. It should be clearly understood that it is the constitutional responsibility of the Grand Jury to review the conduct of county and city government each year. This entails having public officials appear before the Grand Jury to provide information to the Grand Jury relative to their departments or offices.
While Grand Jurors are a part of the Judicial System and are considered as officers of the court, the Grand Jury is an entirely independent body. The Grand Jury Presiding Judge, District Attorney, County Counsel, and State Attorney General act as advisors, but cannot limit actions of the Grand Jury except for illegality.
Because of the confidential nature of a Grand Jury's work, much of it must be done in closed session. Members of a Grand Jury are sworn to secrecy, thus assuring all who appear that their complaints will be handled in an entirely confidential manner. No one may be present during sessions of the Grand Jury except those specified by law (Penal Code § 939), and the minutes of its meetings may not be inspected by anyone, nor can its records be subpoenaed.
The law provides that every Grand Juror must keep secret all evidence adduced before the Grand Jury, anything said by a Grand Juror and the manner in which a grand juror may have voted on a matter. By law it is a misdemeanor to violate the secrecy of the Grand Jury room. A Grand Juror must not confide any information concerning testimony of witnesses or action of the jury even to a spouse or close friend. "Leaks" concerning Grand Jury proceedings inevitably will impair or even destroy the effectiveness of Grand Jury efforts.
Mid-year and final reports describe problems and contain findings and recommendations. Responses are required within 90 days from any public agency and 60 days from any elected officer or agency head.
How to file a complaint
If you wish to file a complaint with the Grand Jury, please fill out the Grand Jury Complaint Form and mail it to:
Yuba County Grand Jury
215 Fifth Street, Suite 213
Marysville, CA 95901
Please mark it “Confidential”.
Any matters referred to the Grand Jury for possible investigation must be submitted in writing with supporting background information and documents. If documents are available, but too voluminous to mail, indicate that in correspondence.