The Criminal Grand Jury consists of 23 members and a designated number of alternates. It is impaneled monthly and the term of service is typically 30 calendar days unless otherwise required by the District Attorney’s Office. The Criminal Grand Jury is selected at random from the petit jury list to ensure that a reasonable representative cross-section of the entire county is eligible for this jury service. All persons qualified for Criminal Grand Jury service have an obligation to serve when summoned.
The Criminal Grand Jury hears evidence brought by the District Attorney’s Office to determine on the basis of this evidence whether a crime has been committed and whether a certain person should be charged with a crime and required to stand trial in the Superior Court. Specifically, the Criminal Grand Jury must decide if there is a strong suspicion the individual committed the crime alleged.
The Civil Grand Jury consists of 23 members and a designated number of alternates. Members of the Civil Grand Jury are selected from a volunteer pool or are nominated directly by a Superior Court judge. The final 23 members are selected randomly by computer. Each July these citizens are sworn in as grand jurors for a 12-month period ending June of the following year. Service is a full-time job.
The responsibilities of the Civil Grand Jury include the examination of all aspects of county government, all municipalities, and special districts, to ensure that the County is being governed honestly and efficiently and that county monies are being handled appropriately. The Civil Grand Jury is further charged with investigating individual complaints from citizens. By statute the Grand Jury is required to inquire regarding the conditions and management of all public prisons within the County of Los Angeles.