CIVIL GRAND JURY
The Civil Grand Jury scrutinizes the conduct of public business of County government. Its function is to investigate the operations of the various officers, departments and agencies of the City & County of San Francisco. Each Civil Grand Jury determines which officers, departments and agencies it will investigate during its term of office.
WHAT IS THE GRAND JURY?
Grand juries are one of the oldest forms of government, with roots in twelfth century England. In the United States, the Massachusetts Colony established the first formal grand jury in 1635. California has recognized the civil functions of the grand jury since the states inception. The Civil Grand Jury is comprised of 19 members representing the citizens of the City & County of San Francisco by investigating, evaluating, and reporting on the operations and actions of local government officers, departments or agencies. The grand jurors serve for a period of one year, from July 1 through June 30 the following year, and are selected at random from a pool of 30 prospective grand jurors. During the term, grand jurors serve a minimum of approximately 500 hours.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Each jury determines which issues related to the governance of the City & County of San Francisco it wishes to investigate. Juries are free to choose their methodology. In recent years the usual practice has been to divide into committees, which then select the county's officers, departments or agencies they will investigate. State law authorizes civil grand juries, as representatives of the local citizenry, to review and evaluate the effectiveness and cost/benefit of procedures, methods and systems.
WHAT DOES THE GRAND JURY DO?
During their investigations, jurors may inspect and audit books, records and financial expenditures; interview civil servants and others who may have pertinent information; inspect government facilities, and then issue reports with findings and recommendations. After the Presiding Judge reviews these reports to make certain they meet legal requirements, they are sent to the appropriate department heads, who are required by law to respond. When they agree, they must specify how and when they will implement the recommended changes; if they disagree, they must explain their reasons. The jury then releases the reports to the public via the media and the Board of Supervisors, which generally holds public hearings on each year's reports.
WHEN DOES THE CIVIL GRAND JURY MEET?
Per California Penal Code §891, the jury proceedings are confidential. Members of the public are not allowed to listen to or observe civil grand jury meetings. The jury meets in closed session on a weekly basis, typically on Monday afternoons. Meetings take place at San Francisco City Hall located at 1 Dr. Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco.
Grand Jury eligibility includes: US citizenship, minimum age of 18, residency in the City & County for at least one year, ordinary intelligence, good character and a working knowledge of English. (Persons are ineligible to serve if they have been discharged from the grand jury within one year, are currently serving on a trial jury, are elected public officials, or have been convicted of a felony.) Jurors must by law disclose all investments and business positions in and/or income from any entity that has conducted business within the City & County in the previous two years, as well as income from all employees of the City & County and all interests in real property. These become matters of public record.
REGISTER A COMPLAINT OR CONCERN WITH THE GRAND JURY?
All communications with the Civil Grand Jury are completely confidential, as are all its investigations. The Civil Grand Jury is charged with investigating the operations of the various officers, departments, bureaus and agencies of the government of the City & County of San Francisco. To register a complaint or to submit a suggestion for an investigation, please submit the online form or mail to the Grand Jury office.
City & County of San Francisco Civil Grand Jury
400 McAllister Street, Room 008
San Francisco, CA 94102
Please Note: Identity thieves have targeted prospective jurors in other jurisdictions by calling and asking for confidential information or threatening them for failing to report for jury service. The Court, Jury Staff and City and County of SF staff will NEVER call and ask for your Social Security Number, credit card number, or other sensitive or confidential information. Do not give out such information over the phone to anyone who calls you claiming to be with the jury office or the court.