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Civil Grand Jury member guide

Learn what’s expected of you and what it’s like to serve on the Grand Jury.

Serving on the Civil Grand Jury is a great way to be a catalyst for change. You’ll learn about local government and identify ways to save money, improve services, and solve problems.  

As a juror, you’ll: 

  • Use creative problem solving skills 
  • Work with 18 other people from diverse backgrounds 
  • Get to meet elected officials, law enforcement and local government leaders 
  • Go on field trips to Juvenile Hall, Marin County Jail, and San Quentin 

Time commitment

Jurors are selected to serve for a 1 year term from July to June.  

The time commitment varies depending on the number of reports the jury decides to conduct. You will generally spend 10 to 20 hours per week doing research, interviews, and writing. Some jurors spend more than 20 hours per week, but it’s not required.  

Meetings and interviews 

The jury meets as a group once per week at the Marin County Civic Center or online. Jury committees also usually meet once per week at the same location or online.   

You can conduct interviews online, at the Civic Center, or at the interviewee’s office. 

Time off 

You can take time off from the Grand Jury for vacations and unexpected events (like medical or family emergencies).  

But in general, we expect jurors to be committed and meet their obligations. If you have a long term absence you may need to withdraw.  

Some specific events, like the training at the beginning of the term, are required. 


Reports and topics

California law requires every County to publish 1 Civil Grand Jury report per year. Each jury can decide the number of reports it will publish beyond the 1 required by law.  

At the beginning of the term, you will establish committees that focus on broad topic areas. These may include: 

  • Education 
  • Environment 
  • Finance 
  • Health 
  • Law  

The topics often come from requests for investigations  from the public. Each jury can select the topics they feel are important to investigate.  

Publishing meaningful reports is an important Grand Jury task. As a juror, you are not required to write a report by yourself. Everyone contributes to each report in different ways.   

Usually 1 lead writer leads the writing of each report. Other tasks include: 

  • Conducting research 
  • Arranging and leading interviews 
  • Contributing to discussions 
  • Taking notes to document various Jury activities 
  • Analyzing data 
  • Performing leadership roles

Are computer skills required? 

You are expected to have a working knowledge of: 

  • Email 
  • Online research 
  • Word processing  

You’ll get some software training as part of the onboarding process.

Legal responsibilities

The Grand Jury… 

  • Investigate and report on the operations and records of County officers and departments (Penal Code § 925) 
  • Investigate and report on the operations and records of special districts  (Penal Code § 925) 
  • Examine the books and records of any incorporated city or joint powers agency in the County (Penal Code § 925a) 
  • Inquire into the condition and management of all public prisons within the county (Penal Code § 919b) 
  • Inquire into the willful or corrupt misconduct in office of all public officers within the county (Penal Code § 919c) 
  • Submit a final report of its findings and recommendations to the Superior Court (Penal Code § 933a) 


Page updated January 19, 2024