OVERVIEW OF THE TULARE COUNTY GRAND JURY
A judicial body authorized by the Constitution of the State of California, the TCGJ is composed of 19 members selected by lot from a pool of volunteers and nominees of the court. An impaneled Jury represents a diversity of men and women from socioeconomic, ethnic, age, educational background and geographical areas of the County.
Jurors are sworn-in and begin their 12-month service in July. The Presiding Judge may reappoint up to ten Jurors to serve a second term. Each year, the Judge appoints a Foreman to preside at Grand Jury meetings.
As an independent body, the Grand Jury alone determines its agenda. The Presiding Judge, County Counsel and the District Attorney are available for advice.
HOW THE GRAND JURY WORKS
The Tulare County Grand Jury (Grand Jury) is a fact-finding body that acts as the public's watchdog by investigating and reporting on the affairs of county and local governments. They may also look into complaints brought by citizens who are concerned by perceived government irregularities. All complaints must be submitted in writing or email. Complaints are not accepted by telephone or voice mail. The Grand Jury has the potential to make recommendations for constructive changes and possible solutions to a wide range of local governmental problems. This is done by reviewing and evaluating procedures, methods, and systems utilized by the county's various entities to determine if more efficient and economical programs may be employed. The Grand Jury is also authorized to and in some cases must:
- Inspect and audit books, records, and financial expenditures to ensure that public funds are properly accounted for and legally spent;
- Inspect financial records of special districts in Tulare County;
- Examine the books and records of any non-profit organization receiving county or city funds;
- Inquire into the conditions of jails and detention centers; and
- Inquire into any charges of willful misconduct in office by county and/or local officials or employees
The Grand Jury does not investigate private entities, non-profit organizations not connected to the county and/or local governments, state or federal agencies, courts, school curriculum, or other matters not connected with county and/or local governments.
The Grand Jury annually issues a final report, which contains several reports addressing one or more issues. California Penal Code §933 requires responses from governing agencies, including the Board of Supervisors, city and county governments, schools, special districts and certain non-profit corporations. This ensures that their functions are performed in a lawful, economical and efficient manner. Each report contains information such as the background regarding the subject matter, reasons for the investigation, the procedures followed in obtaining information, findings, conclusions, and recommendations. All required responders must reply, in writing, to each finding and recommendation in the specific report within a given time period.
During the first 6 months of a term, Jurors may expect to spend approximately 20 hours per week attending Grand Jury and outside (ie. school board, special district, etc.) meetings. As Time progresses a Juror may spend 30 hours or more as reports are written, delivered and published.