Looking to be an OC watchdog with teeth?
The OC grand jury might have a place for you. Applications are being accepted for the 2013-14 panel. You have until Jan. 18 to apply.
The grand jury is tasked with investigating and reporting on civil and criminal matters in the county to make sure the government—county and city agencies, including jails and special districts—is doing its job, and doing it honestly. It can also hand up criminal indictments.
Among the actions taken by the OC grand jury in 2012 were indicting the Seal Beach salon shooting suspect and putting a spotlight on sex trafficking in the county.
To serve on the grand jury you must be at least 18, a U.S. citizen and you must have lived in the county at least a year.
Here's how the county chooses grand jurors:
Applications go to a selection committee made up of Superior Court judges. About 90 of those applicants will move up to the interview process. (The law requires that the pool of prospective grand jurors reflect the cross-section of the county. And the jurors will be chosen from the five supervisorial districts in proportion to their populations.)
If you want to be a grand juror who makes it to the interview, expect to be investigated by the Sheriff's Department.
The selection committee will whittle the number down to 25 to 30 names; those people will constitute the grand jury panel and will be summoned to appear in court (right now that is set for May 14, 2013). The names of those who respond to the summons are placed in a box, and 19 names are drawn; those 19 will constitute the grand jury for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2013. The rest will be alternates, serving in the order that their names were drawn.
Think About It First
The county urges applicants to know what they could getting into before they seek a spot on the panel: The grand jury generally works has a five-day week, but evening and weekend hours can be involved; compensation is $50 per day (and mileage). Vacations are discouraged.
A mandatory orientation presentation for prospective grand jurors will be held Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, at 3 p.m. at the Superior Court jury assembly room (third floor), 700 Civic Center Drive West, Santa Ana. It will be conducted by members of the judges’ selection committee and current grand jury members.