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Grand Jury - Criminal

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The District Attorney's Office serves as one of the legal advisor to the grand jury and may appear before the grand jury at all times for the purpose of giving information or advice relative to any matter cognizable by the grand jury. The presiding Superior Court Judge and County Counsel, as to civil matters, may only give advice when the grand jury requests it. Generally, the district attorney advises the criminal grand jury and the county counsel advises the civil grand jury.  Each grand jury has 19 members.
 
The criminal grand jury is impaneled for three month terms and is selected at random from the list of trial jurors in civil and criminal cases. This grand jury examines evidence presented by the district attorney and determines if there is "probable cause" to believe that an identified person committed a crime. If twelve grand jurors agree, the criminal grand jury will "find" an indictment. The indictment is immediately filed with the court, an arrest warrant is issued, and the defendant is brought before the court to answer the charges.
 
The district attorney may present any type of criminal case to the criminal grand jury. However, the cases are generally limited to the following:
  1. Public corruption and official misconduct;
  2. Multiple defendants that will result in unreasonable delay, if prosecution is by complaint;
  3. Multiple defendant cases in which some defendants are pending trial and others need to be charged and joined to avoid multiple trials;
  4. Complex matters such as major fraud, high tech and trade secret theft;
  5. High security cases involving possible escape/rescue of prisoner witnesses;
  6. Organized crime and gang cases;
  7. Three strikes cases;
  8. Cases involving reluctant or hostile witnesses that may require compelled testimony to complete the investigation;
  9. Sensitive cases dictating that victims/witnesses should be protected from multiple detailed cross-examinations and/or confrontations with the defendants;
  10. Cases arising from "sting operations" or "buy programs" that have common elements of factual proof, but may not be joinable in a prosecution by complaint;
  11. High visibility cases that may be jeopardized by undue pretrial publicity resulting in a change of venue, if a preliminary hearing is conducted;
  12. "Conscience of the community" matters; and
  13. Police use of force cases resulting in serious injury or death.
Grand Jury - Civil
 
The civil grand jury has the responsibility to investigate and report on the operations, accounts, and records of local governmental agencies, including the county, cities, and school districts. This grand jury serves for one fiscal year (June to June). Near the end of its term, the civil grand jury files a report of its findings and recommendations with the superior court presiding judge. Thereafter the report becomes a public record. Persons interested in being considered for service on future civil grand juries should obtain an application from the Superior Court Grand Jury Coordinator, Gloria Chacόn, phone: (408) 882-2721; fax: (408) 882-2795.
 
For More Information Please Contact:
 
Grand Jury - Criminal
70 W. Hedding St., West Wing
San Jose, CA 95110
Phone: (408) 792-2595
Phone: (408) 792-2798
Email: Ombudsman@da.sccgov.org