Thursday, July 24, 2014
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About the Grand Jury
Apply for the Grand Jury
Requirements for Becoming a Juror
The Grand Jury is a body of 19 citizens, independent of any political or special
interest group. NO law degree or specific credential is necessary to be a Grand
Jury member though an avid interest in preserving honest and proper conduct of
ALL governmental agencies within Kern County is essential. Grand Jurors should
also possess the desire to insure that all monies, within these areas of government,
are being handled prudently and in the best interest of Kern County residents. The
Grand Jury’s purpose is to serve and assist the people of Kern County.
The basic requirements for a Grand Juror are as follows:
In addition, secrecy and complete confidentiality are the sworn commitment of all
Grand Jury members. This commitment is to assure the protection and privacy of anyone
coming before the jury with, or in response to, a complaint.
Juror Selection Process
Grand Jury recruitment occurs annually, typically starting right after the holidays
and running from early January through mid-April. Each year the Superior Court solicits
applications for citizens to serve on the Grand Jury.
Pursuant to the Penal Code, Title 4, Sections 888 et seq, the Superior Court is
charged with nominating qualified citizens to serve as members of the Grand Jury. The
Kern County Superior Court follows those procedures. The objective is
to obtain a pool representative of the ethnic and cultural diversity of our county
at large. The recruitment and selection of qualified jurors is the most
critical factor in determining how effective any Grand Jury will become.
Citizens interested in Grand Jury service must submit an Application for Nomination. A
background check is then made to determine if the applicant is qualified. A committee
of Superior Court Judges interviews each qualified applicant to discuss their interests,
qualifications, and the duties they will be expected to undertake. The
Superior Court Judges make their nominations.
In the spring of each year, there is a drawing by the Clerk of the Court which reduces
the list of prospective jurors to the thirty people who will be in the final drawing. In
the third week of June of each year the final random drawing is held in Superior
Court, Metropolitan Division, Department One. Before the drawing begins, the Presiding
Judge identifies which members from the previous Grand Jury he or she wishes to
hold over as members of the new Grand Jury. The law provides that the
Presiding Judge may hold over as many as ten members from the previous Grand Jury. Once
this is done, a drawing is held to select the rest of the 19-member jury plus alternates. The
purpose of selecting alternates is so that they may replace any juror unable to
complete a full term. The new Grand Jury is then sworn and instructed.
Juror Duties/Time Commitment/Compensation
The Grand Jury has the power and duty to examine the function and performance of
public offices and officers. They report their findings and can make recommendations
for changes. This area is referred to as their civil or "watch dog" function. They
also have the power and duty to inquire into possible public offenses, misconduct
in office by public officers, and to determine whether to return indictments charging
the commission of felonies. This area of responsibility is referred to as their
Each Grand Jury is seated for one year from July 1st to June 30th. The
Grand Jury meets four days per week during its one-year term. The time
requirement is approximately 20 hours per week. Offices
for conducting Grand Jury business are provided on the 6th floor of the Superior
Court Building, 1415 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield.
Members of the Grand Jury receive a daily stipend based on hours worked. They are
also reimbursed for personal vehicle usage at the prevailing County mileage rate.
Recruitment for the FY 2014 - 2015 Grand Jury closed 4-4-2014
Recruitment for the FY 2015 - 2016 Grand Jury will open in January of 2015
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