The press release announcing the formation of the San Joaquin County Chapter of the California Grand Jurors’ Association was issued on September 12, 2013. This important announcement proclaimed “A group of 22 San Joaquin County citizens, who are former and current members of the civil grand jury, have formed a local chapter of the California Grand Jurors’ Association (CGJA).”
Civil Grand Juries were created in England in the 17th Century; they were adopted in the United States soon after our nation was established. The California State Constitution requires each of the state’s 58 counties to form a civil grand jury each year. Their role, then and now, is to shed light on government entities and how effectively and efficiently they represent the public interests they were elected or appointed to serve.
The CGJA is a statewide association whose purpose is to preserve, promote and support the California grand jury system and the valuable role civil grand juries play in our democratic system of government. The San Joaquin County Chapter will complement that role for the benefit of county citizens through increased oversight regarding accountability and effectiveness of public entities including cities and special districts.
Specifically, the Chapter goals are as follows:
- Provide citizens of San Joaquin County with information on the grand jury system and its importance and benefit to the well-being of the community
- Work with the Court to support training and orientation of all new grand jurors
- Assist in recruiting qualified candidates for membership on the grand jury
- Advance the preservation and availability of grand jury reports and official responses.
- Promote greater awareness of grand jury work, including meaningful responses by local government agencies.
The San Joaquin County Chapter elected officers include Gary Spaugh, President; Lou Meyer, Vice President; and Ken Buck, Secretary/Treasurer.
San Joaquin County joins 27 other counties in the state that have Chapters of the California Grand Jurors’ Association.
The Record recently provided an editorial addressing the work of the 2012-2013 Grand Jury and properly cited the significance of grand jury reports, findings, and recommendations. Significantly, the editorial stressed the importance of compliance with grand jury reports by those entities addressed in its annual reports. The San Joaquin County Chapter membership whole heartedly agrees with The Record editorial and it is for this reason the members look forward to supporting and strengthening the grand jury’s aim and objectives for the benefit of the citizens in the community.