“The old Grand Jury assistant used to say that if she got more than two who were worth something she was happy.” However, “This year there is a potential for the Grand Jury to outdo the 2008 Grand Jury.”
I ran across an interesting essay of the San Bernardino Grand Jury. Many of us are ignorant of how the Grand Jury actually works. Few understand the the breath and depth of responsibilities of the 19 Jurors. Most don’t grasp the dynamics of power the jurors wield, or those whom assist, guide and advise the Jurors.
Many residents in San Bernardino (and beyond) were in a state of disbelief over the San Bernardino County Grand Jury 2013-14 report released earlier this month. The Jury gave the county jails an embarrassing clean bill of health while jails are in the thick of an investigation by the FBI for allegations of inmate abuse by sworn officers.
Nonetheless, the Grand Jury did tackled some hard issue and made relevant and wise recommendations.
Here is the interesting essay that goes behind the myth.
iePolitics.com | By administrator
I’ve had a fair amount of experience dealing with grand juries. Back when I was a judicial secretary, I was the backup secretary to the Grand Jury for a while. I also worked for department and agency heads who were subject to grand jury probes and visits.
There are 19 grand jurors on each panel, if my memory serves me correctly. The old Grand Jury assistant used to say that if she got more than two who were worth something she was happy.
People volunteer for the Grand Jury for a variety of reasons. Some because they are bored, others to supplement their income, others for the social interaction, and here and there, you might get one that actually has a clue as to why they are there and what they are supposed to do. And out of that last category, you get the rare one who also is capable of understanding county government. Generally, even the well-educated members are so old their critical thinking skills are compromised. Many are naive, partially due to the era in which they grew up.
So often you get grand jurors who have business experience and want to run the county the same way. They have no comprehension of how government works. That’s not to say that the county could not use more of a business model, but there is a reason and a necessity for a certain amount of bureaucratic red tape. There are things government simply cannot do that private businesses can. The recent Hobby Lobby decision is a good example.
In my dealing with Grand Juries, I have found few jurors possess the “chutzpah” to challenge the bullshit department heads and elected/appointed officials spew their way to get them off-track. County leaders are condescending and dismissive. They do not take the Grand Jury seriously and some are not afraid to misrepresent the truth. I know the other blog is making that argument in the case of SBSD, which I don’t necessarily agree with.
I think the last decent Grand Jury we had was 2008, I believe. Those since have been mostly flops, looking at unimportant issues or being easily fooled on the important issues.
This year there is a potential for the Grand Jury to outdo the 2008 Grand Jury. Why? Well, there are some interesting members on it. There are two retired cops on it, one of whom has an extensive history of undercover investigative experience. From what I understand, the other cop doesn’t take crap from anyone. There are also a couple of other very well educated members.
I’m telling people, this is the year to make GJ complaints. Of course, if you submit something the Unibomber would be proud of, well then you have no grounds to complain when they do not act. Or, like an email I received the other day where I was asked to act on the information but told that I could not tell anyone what was shared with me. Ummm . . . so which is it? Either you want an investigation or you dont.
I already know what the naysayers are going to say. And I already know there will be those that submit a pile of BS and then become indignant when nothing happens. But for you normal people, this is as good of time to submit that complaint as any.
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