Sonoma County Civil Grand Jury
2023 - 2024 Grand Jury recruitment is open: Click Here to learn more.
Grand Jury Information
2023-2024 Grand Jury recruitment is now closed. If you are interested in serving on the Sonoma County Civil Grand Jury, Click Here to learn more.
The Grand Jury is a historic institution and serves an important role in our society. It is sometimes referred to as the "watchdog" of the community. It functions as an arm of the judicial branch of government and operates under the authority of the Sonoma County Superior Court.
Under State law the Grand Jury is an independent institution that oversees the legislative and administrative departments that make up county, city, and special district governments. The Grand Jury has the power to investigate them to ensure that they are efficient, honest, fair and dedicated to serving the public and individual citizens.
Many people associate grand juries with indictments in criminal cases, perhaps because the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides that no person can be prosecuted for a federal crime except upon indictment by a grand jury. Today in California there are two types of grand juries, civil and criminal. They are separate bodies and are governed by different rules. In Sonoma County, criminal grand juries are rarely used, because alternative methods are available to the District Attorney to bring charges.
What is the Grand Jury and why should I apply?
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Reports & Responses
The results of most Sonoma County Grand Jury investigations are contained in reports that set forth findings concerning the problems investigated and make recommendations for solutions. These documents are published either as Interim Reports during the year or in the Grand Jury’s Final Report at the expiration of its term of office. A minimum of 12 of the 19 Grand Jurors must approve the content of any report. Once approved, all reports are reviewed by County Counsel and the Presiding Judge for compliance with the law before being released to the public.
By law, the governing body of any agency that is the subject of a Grand Jury report must comment on the findings and recommendation of the report within 90 days of its publication date, except that every elected county officer or agency head must comment within 60 days. The comments must be submitted to the Presiding Judge and must specify what action, if any, has been or will be taken by the department or agency regarding the recommendations or explain why no action has been taken. This requirement gives the sitting Grand Jury or its successor the opportunity to track the results of investigations.
Copies of the Final Report of the Sonoma County Grand Jury are distributed in July as an insert of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and are sent to the regional branches of the Sonoma County Library.
Current and past reports listed by year.
** Responses available to view at all Sonoma County Library Branches.