About the Civil Grand Jury


Contra Costa Civil Grand Jury

The Civil Grand Jury's duty is to address citizens' concerns regarding the operation of local government entities.  The Civil Grand Jury is comprised of 19 citizens who are impaneled annually for a one-year term.  The Grand Jury has a separate and different function than that of a trial jury and does not hear cases in a courtroom.  Instead, Grand Jurors examine and investigate local governmental activities within Contra Costa county.

The responsibilities of the Civil Grand Jury encompass the examination of all aspects of  County government, including school and special district to ensure that the County is being governed lawful, efficiently, and public monies are being handled appropriately.  The Grand Jury may conduct investigations of public agencies and the administration and affairs of any city within the County.  The Grand Jury is authorized by law to:

  • Inquire into the condition and management of County jails and detention facilities;
  • Investigate and report on the operations, accounts, and records of city and County offices, departments, and their functions;
  • Inquire into the allegations of willful or corrupt misconduct of public officials;
  • Investigate into the activities of all school and special assessment districts within the County;
  • Submit a final report of its findings and recommendations to the Supervising Judge of the Superior Court

Empowered by the judicial system, the Civil Grand Jury is independent of administrators, politicians, and legislators.  A new Grand Jury is impaneled each year. Grand Jurors are officers of the court and function as an independent body under the guidance of a Superior Court judge. Apart from the investigations mandated by the California Penal Code, each county’s Grand Jury decides what it will investigate. Investigations may be initiated in response to letters from citizens, newspaper articles, and personal knowledge.

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 conditions and management of county jails.  Investigation and report on the operations, accounts, and records of the officers, departments, or functions of the county including those operation, accounts, and records of any special legislative district or other districts 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.

Civil Watch Dog Function

This is the major function of grand jurors, and considerable effort and time are 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 Contra Costa County residents are being served. The Grand Jury reviews and evaluates procedures, methods, and systems utilized by county and city governments to determine whether more efficient and economical programs may be employed.

The Civil Grand Jury has no jurisdiction to investigate any State or Federal government agencies, the Courts, or matters outside Contra Costa County.
All complaints are kept confidential and may be the basis for an official Civil Grand Jury report.

If you have a comment or complaint, please use this form to let us know.

                                                                                       In Loving Memory Maryann Sheridan June 1, 1947-March ...