Judge John Freeland presided over the selection of the 2020-21 Civil Grand Jury on July 23, kicking off the one-year term beginning July 23 through June 30, 2021.
Laurie Overly was appointed foreperson of the Civil Grand Jury. In addition to the 19-member panel, three additional names were drawn as alternates. The alternates would be asked to serve in the event that a regular grand juror resigns or is removed.
Grand Jury members are Overly; Alana Scott of Hughson; Turlock residents Lorraine Arnold, Alan Seliger, Charlie Gaines, Don Hamaguchi and alternate Larry Turner; Modesto residents Jim McKay, Marsha Lovelace, William Bishop, Patricia Brown, Thomas Cardoza, Manveer Bains, Louis Friedman, Arvinder Bajwa, James Weaver and alternates Bradford Rodman and Michael McClary; Terri Taylor of Oakdale; Cheryl Mason and Edward Dobson, both of Salida; and Deborah Lasater of Waterford.
The Civil Grand Jury is empowered to investigate complaints from citizens, civic groups, government employees and others about the operations of county and city governments and the conduct of their officers and employees. The Civil Grand Jury can also investigate complaints within special districts and school districts.
Certain functions of the Grand Jury are mandated by law:
— Examining the condition of the detention facilities within the county.
— Auditing the books, records and accounts of county offices and to contract for an outside auditor to conduct such audits.
Committees are formed to study citizen complaints. The Grand Jury itself also selects additional areas that it wishes to study/investigate. At the end of the fiscal term on June 30, the Grand Jury publishes its findings, conclusions and recommendations in a Final Report, which is distributed to public officials, libraries and the press. Agencies or departments, which are the subjects of investigations, are required to respond to the findings and recommendations within 90 days.
Grand Juries have no jurisdiction in matters under litigation. The Grand Jury is limited to studying procedures or systems.
The selection of the Civil Grand Jury is a process directed by the presiding judge of the Superior Court and involves names which have been randomly selected from the master jury pool and names which have been submitted by community leaders. Every person who responds in the affirmative that he or she wants to serve is afforded an interview with the presiding judge. There can be up 10 holdovers from the previous Grand Jury to continue to serve on the next Grand Jury. P
The selection process for the Civil Grand Jury begins in March of every year. Those interested in serving on the next grand jury, can call for an application at that time at (209) 525-4252.