Wanted: Government watchdogs to serve on the San Francisco Civil Grand Jury

San Francisco – The San Francisco Superior Court is accepting applications for Civil Grand Jury service for the 2011-2012 term, Presiding Judge Katherine Feinstein announced last week.

“Citizen involvement in San Francisco civic issues has a well-established history which has enriched our city,” Judge Feinstein said. “I would like to invite citizens from diverse backgrounds to serve on the Civil Grand Jury to assure that the city’s vibrant diversity enhances the work of its members.”

California is among a handful of states that have grand juries at the county level. In California, the state Constitution requires each county to have at least one grand jury empanelled at all times.

“San Francisco citizens have an opportunity to hold city officials accountable, address inefficiencies in government operations and contribute to the betterment of our community by serving a one year term on the Civil Grand Jury,” said Beate Boultinghouse, president of the San Francisco Chapter of the California Grand Jurors’ Association. “In light of the current tough economic times, the role as a citizen watchdog takes on great importance.”

The San Francisco Superior Court is reaching out to all the diverse communities to urge volunteers from different backgrounds to serve on the Civil Grand Jury.

The application deadline is April 15, 2011. Eligibility requires applicants to be U.S. citizens who are at least 18 years old. Applicants also must have lived in the City and County of San Francisco for at least one year, among other requirements.

Visit www.sfsuperiorcourt.org and click on the Civil Grand Jury link for more information about the Civil Grand Jury and to obtain an application. For more information, contact Court Supervisor Gary Giubbini at (415) 551-3605 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or by email at ggiubbini@sftc.org.

The Civil Grand Jury’s upcoming term runs from July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012. After initial screening, eligible applicants are interviewed before Superior Court judges select a pool of 30 jurors. The 19 members of the grand jury are then selected randomly, with the remaining 11 individuals serving as alternates.

Generally, applicants must be prepared to devote at least 15 hours per week to Civil Grand Jury service. The entire panel typically meets at the Civic Center Courthouse from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Mondays, and separate committee meetings are scheduled as necessary. Members receive a $15 per diem for each meeting attended during the term.