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Grand Jury seeks citizens from Fallbrook area

On November 11, Laura Nicks, coordinator for the San Diego County Grand Jury, spoke to members of the Fallbrook Woman’s Club about the upcoming jury selection process for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

Applications are being accepted now through January 16 for community members interested in serving a one-year term on the San Diego County Grand Jury. Those selected to serve a term are nominated by Superior Court judges. The new fiscal term will start July 1, 2009, and run through June 30, 2010.

“The Grand Jury needs 19 people from all five districts of the county,” said Nicks. She explained that the greater Fallbrook area is part of District 5. Out of the 19 Grand Jury members, she said, one is appointed as a foreperson.

The purpose of the San Diego County Grand Jury is to have a group of impartial citizens investigate various procedures of government programs which lie within the county, cities and districts.

“The Grand Jury actually has the power and authority to see what requires a change or expose a wrong,” explained Nicks. “It’s an awesome responsibility that you would have and a great opportunity to actually make a difference in your community.”

To be a Grand Juror requires a teamwork mentality and a commitment of 24 hours per week. Jurors typically work Monday through Thursday, according to Nicks.

“It is essentially a full-time job,” she said.

For days served, a Grand Juror is paid a stipend of $25 per day and receives mileage reimbursement. Free parking is granted for jurors at the Hall of Justice.

“In essence, the Grand Jury is made of people who can afford the time to come here, and that is mostly retired people,” said L.D. Martin, Grand Jury foreman for 2008-2009. “We are trying to reach out to the college communities and looking toward people in the latter stages of their college career with more flexible schedules who have an interest in government affairs.”

Having diversity and different perspectives in how people see the world is imperative for the Grand Jury.

According to Martin, the Grand Jury should reflect the community and should be from all walks of life. “We need to have width and breadth of the spectrum that reflects the eyes and ears of the community as a whole,” he added.

Nicks pointed out the different action committees in the County of San Diego Grand Jury. They include: administrative/audit, education, environmental/public works, health and human services and law and justice.

Along with the action committees are internal committees. Being a Grand Juror, explained Nicks, fills a vital public service role.

“It is something you will find worthwhile,” she said, “and at the end, you will learn so much about your local county government.”

As current foreman, Martin has found the Grand Jury an excellent learning experience.

“It’s been an opportunity to study what is going on in our countywide government and below,” he said. “Any taxing entity within in the county is opened to the view of the Grand Jury and we are looking at the policies and procedures about how they do business and how they serve their constituents and/or customers.”

Fallbrook Woman’s Club member Meredith Avery added her opinion after serving as a Grand Juror in 2006-2007: “It was a phenomenal experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

To learn more about the application process and/or to receive more information about Grand Jury, visit or call (619) 515-8707.

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