Skip to main content
Skip to main content.

Grand Jury

Grand Jurors are officers of the Court but work as an independent body. A Grand Jury works to ensure that the best interests of all citizens of the county are being served by governmental bodies.

The Grand Jury’s role has its basis in the U.S. Constitution (Fifth Amendment), in the California State Constitution (Article 1, Section B), and in numerous statutes of the State of California. It functions as an arm of the judicial branch of government, and at the local level, operates under the authority of the Superior Court. The Court appoints citizens to the Grand Jury, formally charges its members with duties and responsibilities established by law, and guides the Grand Jury during its term.

Functions

  1. To investigate aspects of local government, including county government, elected officials, incorporated cities, redevelopment agencies, service districts, special districts, prisons, joint powers agencies, LAFCO, and non-profit agencies which receive public monies.
  2. To bring formal accusations against public officials for willful misconduct or corruption in office. Such accusations can lead to removal from office. Although the responsibilities of a juror are many and diverse, the two predominant functions include performing "watchdog" responsibilities and handling citizens' complaints. Both are discussed below.

The major function of the Mono County Grand Jury is to examine county and town government and special districts to ensure that their duties are being lawfully carried out. The Grand Jury reviews and evaluates procedures, methods, and systems utilized by these entities to determine whether more efficient and economical programs may be employed. The Grand Jury is also authorized to:

  •     Inspect and audit books, records, and financial expenditures to ensure that public funds are properly accounted for and legally spent;
  •     Inspect financial records of special districts in Mono County;
  •     Examine the books and records of any nonprofit organization receiving county or city funds;
  •     Inquire into the conditions of jails and detention centers; and
  •     Inquire into any charges of willful misconduct in office by public officials or employees.

The Grand Jury receives letters of complaint from citizens alleging mistreatment by public officials, suspicions of misconduct, or governmental inefficiencies. Anyone may file a complaint and ask the Grand Jury to conduct an investigation. Such complaints are acknowledged and kept confidential.

The Grand Jury will investigate if the situation warrants. The jury generally limits investigations to the operations of governmental agencies, charges of wrongdoing within public agencies, or the performance of unlawful acts by public officials. The Grand Jury cannot investigate disputes between private parties.

The mission of the Grand Jury is accomplished by assuring that all persons who communicate with the Grand Jury will be protected by strict rules of confidentiality. These rules extend to all participants, including witnesses, and all questions and responses. Furthermore, complaint forms, minutes and records of Grand Jury meetings are protected by law and cannot be subpoenaed or inspected by anyone. Anyone who violates these rules of confidentiality is guilty of a misdemeanor.

Download Citizen Complaint Form

At the end of its term, the Grand Jury publishes a final report. The final report summarizes the year's activities and contains findings and recommendations for action and study. Copies of the final report are distributed to public officials, libraries, the news media, any interested parties, and any entity that is the subject of a report. By law, the governing body of any department that reports to the Board of Supervisors and is the subject of a report must respond within 60 days following publication. All other subject organizations must respond within 90 days of the publication of the final report.

The next year's Grand Jury reviews the responses of the affected public agencies, and the process of protecting the public interest begins anew.

Grand Jury Final Reports and agency responses to the reports are on file with the Superior Court, in Mammoth Lakes, at local libraries, and are posted on the Court’s website.

Organization

The Superior Court Presiding Judge acts as the Advisory Grand Jury Judge and appoints a Grand Jury foreperson who presides at all full jury proceedings and who is responsible for directing the business of the Grand Jury.

Most Grand Jury work is done by committees. These usually include Administration, Audit/Finance, Cities/ Special Districts, Edit, Education, Health and Social Services, and Law Enforcement. Other committees may be appointed as required by the Grand Jury.

The Grand Jury and its committees meet at least once a month. They may meet more or less depending upon when the current Grand Jury decides they need to meet. Each Grand Juror usually serves on one or more committees. The committees meet with county and city officials, visit government facilities, and conduct independent research on matters of interest or concern. The committees report to the full Grand Jury each month and conclusions are reached after discussion and study of the issues. The jury may seek advice or request the services of the County Counsel, District Attorney, Advisory Judge of the Superior Court, or State Attorney General. It can also retain private counsel, upon order of the Superior Court.

Service on the Grand Jury is voluntary. Each spring, applications are accepted from qualified citizens. Each of the Superior Court Judges in Mono County may nominate at least one person for Grand Jury service. However, it is not necessary to know a judge personally in order to apply for service.

Mono County citizens are urged to apply for service on the Grand Jury. Citizens who are interested, qualified, and able to commit to a minimum of 10 hours per month for one year of Grand Jury service may download the required form (PDF Format); or request an application from:

 

The Superior Court Executive Office
P.O. Box 1037
Mammoth Lakes, California 93546
(760) 924-5444
Fax: (760) 923-8588

Grand Jury Reports and Responses

Download Grand Jury final reports and responses in PDF format.

A Grand Jury was not appointed for 2015–2016.

Was this helpful?