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Become a Grand Juror

About

Applications submitted for grand jury service are reviewed by the Grand Jury Recruitment/Selection Committee, comprised of Superior Court judges. Every effort is made to recruit men and women from all socio-economic levels, ethnic and age groups. Applicants are judged on the knowledge, skills and abilities required for successful performance as a grand juror. This screening process identifies approximately 90 applicants for further consideration. Those applicants who appear to be qualified are invited to an interview before members of the committee.

Applicants who are found to be best qualified, interested and available to serve will be given a background check by the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department. Finalists for the list of potential grand jurors must include 25 to 30 names.

The law requires that potential grand jurors shall be selected from the five supervisorial districts in proportion to the population of those districts.

The 25 to 30 persons selected will constitute the prospective grand jury panel and are summoned to appear in court where all names are placed in a lottery draw. The first 19 names chosen become the next Orange County Grand Jury. The remaining names are drawn to provide alternates.

Shortly before the beginning of the grand jury term of service, July 1 through June 30, the current grand jury and their advisors conduct an orientation/training program. The presiding judge of the Superior Court selects the foreperson; the jury itself chooses all other officers.

Qualifications

The law states grand jury applicants must have the following qualifications:

  • Citizen of the United States.
  • 18 years of age or older.
  • Resident of state and county or city and county for one year prior to being selected.
  • In possession of natural faculties, ordinary intelligence, sound judgment, fair character.
  • Possess sufficient knowledge of the English language.

Beyond the legal requirements, there are more specific qualifications which are desirable for a grand juror:

  • A general knowledge of the functions, authorities and responsibilities of the county and city governments and other civil entities.
  • Research abilities, including complex reading capabilities, background in accessing/analyzing facts and report writing.
  • Substantial background in group/committee work.
  • Respect and objectivity concerning the positions and views of others.

Commitment/Compensation

The complex, diverse responsibilities of grand jurors make it necessary to give a serious commitment to the time requirements. The Grand Jury term is one year, from July 1 through June 30. The usual work week is four to five days. Additionally, attendance at some evening and weekend meetings may be required.

Grand jurors are provided with meeting facilities and adjacent parking. The current stipend, set by the O.C. Board of Supervisors, for each day’s attendance is $50 per day for up to five days per week. Reimbursement for mileage to and from meetings is allowed at the regular county rate.

What to Expect During the Background Investigation Process

The Background Investigation Process

The Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department is responsible for Grand Jury background investigations.  The background investigations are conducted to assure that applicants meet the requirements set forth in California Penal Code §893, which states:

A person is competent to act as a grand juror only if in possession of each of the following qualifications:

  • The person is a citizen of the United States of the age of 18 years or older who shall have been a resident of the state and of the county or city and county for one year immediately before being selected and returned.
  • The person is in possession of his natural faculties of ordinary intelligence, of sound judgment and of fair character.
  • The person is possessed of sufficient knowledge of the English language.

A person is not competent to act as a grand juror if any of the following apply:

  • The person is serving as a trial juror in any court of this state.
  • The person has completed service as a grand juror in any court in this state within one year.
  • The person has been convicted of malfeasance in office or any felony or other high crime.
  • The person is serving as an elected public official.

Prospective Grand Juror Background Investigation

The Basic Background Investigation

Record Checks:

  • Local police department(s) of city of residence and employment
  • Orange County Automated Warrant Service System
  • FBI Criminal Record System
  • California Wanted Person System
  • California Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Credit reporting agency
  • Orange County Registrar of Voters
  • Orange County Superior Court indexes
  • Federal Bankruptcy Court indexes
  • Orange County District Attorney's Office

Interviews:

  • With current employer or previous employer if prospective juror is retired.
  • With the prospective juror at his/her home.
  • With selected neighbors of the prospective grand juror.

Written Report to Committee

Upon completion of the background investigations, the investigator submits a written report on each of about 90 selected applicants to the Superior Court judges of the Grand Jury Recruitment/Selection Committee.

If You Are Selected To Participate In the Final Draw

The 25 to 30 candidates selected to participate in the Final Draw will be scheduled for fingerprinting by the Sheriff's Department.

Conclusion

The background investigation is not designed or intended to be an adversarial process, but it is thorough. Cooperating with the Sheriff's Investigator speeds the investigation and minimizes any inconvenience.

If You Have Questions . . .

If, as a prospective grand juror, you have any questions regarding the background investigation process, please contact the Sheriff's Professional Standards Division at (714) 834-5311 or (714) 834-5316. Please note that the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Department requires a California Notary Public to verify your identity on the "Authorization to Release Information" form included in the application packet.

Video – OC Grand Jury Recruitment

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