Introduction to the Santa Cruz
Two Types of
Grand Juries in Santa Cruz County
As with many California counties, Santa Cruz County has two
types of Grand Juries. The regular, or civil, Grand Jury
is an investigative body that serves for one year. There are nineteen members
on the jury. The civil Grand Jury is not
involved with trials but rather serves as a watchdog over local government and
other tax-supported entities.
The other Grand Jury
is a criminal Grand Jury that deals with
issuing indictments (charging a person with a criminal or public offense). This
jury is called up as needed on a case-by-case basis.
Duties and Powers of the
Civil Grand Jury
The Civil Grand Jury
has three primary functions:
To randomly audit local governmental agencies
to publish its investigative findings and
recommendations toward improving those governmental operations in the interest
of the community being served.
To investigate citizens' complaints.
The Civil Grand
Jury investigates local government agencies and officials to
evaluate if they are acting properly. If a Grand Jury
determines that they are not, it has various options. The most frequently used
option is the presentation of a report outlining the Grand Jury's
findings and recommendations in the matter. Such reports are public and
sometimes attract media attention. Agencies or elected officials discussed in
the report must respond specifically to the report's findings and
recommendations according to a specific timeline.
Citizens may file complaints with the Grand
Jury to request that it investigate what they perceive as
wrongdoing by a public agency, such as a school district or a police
department. The Jury decides if a complaint has merit and is not obligated to
pursue every complaint. County complaint forms are available from the following
Santa Cruz County Grand
701 Ocean Street,
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
FAX (831) 454-3387