History of the Civil Grand Jury

History of the Grand Jury

The Grand Jury system has been used in England since the twelfth century.  Grand juries were brought to America in 1635 when the Massachusetts Bay Colony empaneled the first one in the new land. The Grand Jury system has been embedded in the California Constitution since the beginning of statehood in 1850. The first Contra Costa County Grand Jury convened in the 1850's.  The Contra Costa County Grand Jury operates under the constitutional mandate which calls for a Grand Jury in every county.   The term of service is one year and begins mid-June.  Upon being sworn in, jurors are provided orientation and training regarding grand jury responsibilities and investigative and report writing techniques.  The Grand Jury organizes itself and investigates various departments and functions of local governments as it chooses.  Subjects investigated can be initiated by the Grand Jury or suggested by letters from citizens, complaints of alleged mistreatment by officials, suspicion of misconduct, or government inefficiencies.  Such complaints, and ALL transactions of the jury, are kept confidential.  A report usually follows with recommendations that must be addressed by the recipients.  The advice of the County Counsel, the District Attorney, and the Presiding Judge is available to the Grand Jury.

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