Become a Grand Juror
Who may be on the Grand Jury?
By law, to become a grand juror a person must: (1) be a citizen of the United States, 18 years of age or older; (2) have been a resident of Ventura County for one year immediately prior to being selected; (3) be of ordinary intelligence, sound judgment, and good character; and (4) have sufficient knowledge of English to understand and report grand jury business. Basic computer skills are highly desirable.
A person may not serve on the grand jury if he or she: (1) is currently serving as a trial juror; (2) has been discharged as a grand juror in any court in California within one year; (3) has been convicted of misconduct in office or any felony or high crime; or (4) is serving as an elected public officer.
By law, all grand jurors are required to complete a financial disclosure form (Form 700, Statement of Economic Interest). This form must be filed within 30 days of being sworn in as a grand jury member, annually, and again within 30 days of the completion of grand jury service.
What is the time commitment and remuneration for grand jury service?
Grand jury service is for a 12-month period that begins on July 1 and ends the following June 30. Due to the number of investigations undertaken and the complexity of the investigation and reporting-writing processes, jurors should expect to spend 15-35 hours per week during most of their term.
Each grand jury establishes its own work schedule. Historically, committee meetings are held Tuesday through Thursday. Mondays and Fridays are used for protocol visits, interviews, and other tasks. During a weekly general meeting a full panel of jurors is vital to productive discussion and decision making. Time off is coordinated with the foreperson.
Grand jurors receive a stipend of $25 per day for actual days served, excluding work done at home. Additionally, they receive a mileage allowance (at the current IRS rate) for miles driven to and from chambers or other specified locations. Jury chambers is located near the Ventura County Government Center in Ventura. Free parking is provided.
How is a person chosen for the grand jury?
Residents who meet the qualifications stated above are urged to apply for service on the grand jury by filling out the “Grand Jury Application and Questionnaire”. Applications will be available and accepted between January and mid-April of each year. All applicants are subject to a background check and interviewed by outgoing jurors.
Applications, along with notes and recommendations, are then forwarded to a committee of judges. This committee reviews all applications and selects 30 persons for a proposed grand jury panel. The judges make an effort to choose a diverse pool of applicants from all parts of the county. Up to 10 current jurors may serve a second term at the discretion of the presiding judge. No person may serve for more than two consecutive terms.
The 30-person pool is then reviewed and approved by the presiding judge. At the end of June, all members of the proposed panel attend a two-day orientation on the organization and functions of the grand jury. On or about July 1, those positions on the panel not filled by “carry-over” jurors are filled by a random drawing. Those who are not selected remain available as alternates to fill any position that may become vacant during the year. The 19 members are then sworn in by the presiding judge.
Members of the public interested in applying for Grand Jury service may contact the Grand Jury by telephone at 805-477-1600 or by mail at Ventura Superior Court, Jury Services Department, 800 South Victoria Ave., Rm. 113, Ventura, CA 93009. The “Grand Jury Application and Questionnaire” may also be downloaded here.
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