Apr 4 2018

Grand Jury Recruitment Deadline April 15, 2018

Can you offer help?

The Alameda County Grand Jury is looking for citizens who are willing to give their time to help good government. Alameda County Civil Grand Jurors are needed for 2018-2019.   

Alameda County Grand Jury recruiting deadline April 15.


Alameda County residents can also fulfill a civic duty by submitting a complaint to a Grand Jury. All complaints are confidential.  See below.

“Civil grand juries have been instrumental in rooting out waste and investigating city leaders suspected of breaching the public trust. Unlike criminal juries, civil grand juries do not deliberate the outcome of criminal defendants or convene for judicial trials. Recent grand juries in Alameda County have conducted investigations into possible misconduct of public officials and the operation of government agencies within Alameda County.

For example,

• In 2016, a civil grand jury investigated Fremont’s email retention policy, which prompted the City of Fremont to preserve emails for a two-year period instead of purging emails after one month periods.

In 2016, the civil grand jury investigated complaints regarding the City of Oakland’s contracting process for awarding garbage collection contracts. The grand jury found that the city’s contracting process lacked transparency and that “franchise fees paid by the ratepayers were disproportionately higher than franchise fees paid to other Bay Area municipalities and special districts.”

• In 2014, the civil grand jury noted mismanagement of fire inspections in Oakland and recommended that the City of Oakland record liens against properties that fail to pay fire inspection fines.

California State Law requires that every county impanel a civil grand jury comprised of 19 residents to serve for one-year periods. Civil grand juries are responsible for examining county departments and public officials to determine whether improvements are needed.

The range of issues reviewed by grand juries include health care, education, pensions, and special districts. Civil grand juries also routinely inspect county jails and review issues pertaining to school districts.

Each year the grand jury reviews complaints from county residents to determine what to investigate. All complaints are maintained in confidence.

To serve on the Alameda County grand jury you must:

Reside in Alameda County for at least one year on July 1st;

• Be at least 18 years old;

• Be able to commit 8 -10 hours per week, and occasionally more time if needed;

• Have an ability to work well with others.

• Commit to keeping all grand jury deliberations secret.

Civil Grand Jury

The civil grand jury acts as a “watch-dog” by investigating the workings and efficiencies of county and local governments. Past investigations have highlighted the failings of local officials in adequately scrutinizing the deal that returned the Raiders football team to Oakland – a deal which currently costs Oakland and Alameda County taxpayers in excess of $20 million every year; the failure of local school boards and county education officials in adequately overseeing the financial affairs of bankrupt school districts in Oakland and Emeryville; and exposed the county welfare agency’s complete failure to investigate welfare fraud, resulting in the district attorney assuming responsibility for those investigations and prosecutions – now numbering over 800 felony prosecutions each year.

The civil grand jury is also authorized to:

  1. Inspect and audit books, records and financial expenditures to ensure the public that public funds are properly accounted for and spent.
  2. Inspect books and records of special districts in Alameda County.
  3. Examine books and records of non-profit agencies that have substantial contacts with county or local agencies.
  4. Inquire into and inspect conditions of local jails and detention facilities.
  5. Investigate charges of willful misconduct by public officials or employees.

The next grand jury term begins on July 1, 2018. In Alameda County, the deadline for applying for the 2018-2019 term is April 15, 2018. There is a particular need for applicants from Fremont, Hayward, Dublin, Livermore, Union City and Newark.

In addition to serving on the grand jury, you can fulfill your civic duty by submitting a complaint. All complaints are kept confidential.

Any person may complain to the Alameda County civil grand jury. The grand jury can only act on complaints dealing with a county department, any city within Alameda County, local agencies that operate within Alameda County (for example BART, EBMUD, AC Transit), and all school districts within Alameda County. The civil grand jury also considers complaints against public officials typically dealing with malfeasance in office. The civil grand jury cannot investigate complaints against state or federal agencies.

Since the activities of the civil grand jury are secret, complainants can be assured their identity will not be disclosed to anyone outside the grand jury.

Complaints made to the grand jury must be in writing and include the name, address and phone number of the complainant. The civil grand jury encourages people who wish to make a complaint to use the complaint form below.

To make your complaint:

  1. Download the complaint form. (7kb)**
  2. Complete the form.
  3. Mail the completed form to the address listed in the form

How Do I Become A Civil Grand Juror?
Prospective civil grand jurors are nominated by judges of the Alameda County Superior Court. To be eligible for nomination, a citizen must first submit an application that may be obtained from the Alameda County jury commissioner. The qualifications required are: U.S. citizenship, residence in Alameda County for at least one year, and be at least 18 years of age, and have a sufficient knowledge of the English language. Convicted felons and those who have been discharged from service on a grand jury within one year are ineligible for grand jury service. Judges from the Superior Court then review the applications and the applicants’ backgrounds before conducting personal interviews of the applicants. Civil grand jurors are expected to attend grand jury meetings on average two days each week.

Once a sufficient number of citizens have been nominated, 25-30 names are selected as nominees. The nominees must equally represent each of the five supervisorial districts in Alameda County. At an official ceremony, 19 jurors are selected to serve for a one year term. At the discretion of the presiding judge, up to ten members of the prior grand jury may be held over for an additional year of grand jury service.

How to Obtain an Application

Call, Email or Write:

Cassie Barner
Grand Jury Recruitment
1401 Lakeside Drive, Suite 1104
Oakland, CA 94612

You can print the application from the link below and mail it to the address listed above.
Grand Jury Application: App.pdf (PDF – 110kb) *

For further information, Alameda County residents may contact Cassie Barner (510) 208-9855 or visit www.acgov.org/grandjury/juror.htm.

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