Merced County court seeks civil grand jury members

The selection process for the 2014-2015 Merced County Civil Grand Jury has begun.

Any qualified residents interested in serving on the civil grand jury may contact the court by calling the executive assistant at (209) 725-4172 or going to to download an application. The deadline for applications is May 1.

The primary function of the grand jury is to act as an ombudsman by investigating and issuing reports about local government agencies that include county and city government, special districts and school districts, according to a Merced Superior Court press release.

Those who qualify for the grand jury will be interviewed by Criminal Presiding Judge Mark Bacciarini of the Merced Superior Court and court Executive Officer Linda Romero Soles. From those interviewed, Bacciarini will make the decision on the final 30 names. From the 30 names, the 19-member panel civil grand jury and four alternates will be selected in open court by a random selection process.

Civil grand jurors must meet the same qualifications as a trial juror. The term of the office for a grand juror is from July 1 to June 30, 2015. Grand jurors must be available at least 20 hours per month. The primary function of the civil grand jury is to act as the public watchdog by investigating and reporting upon the affairs of local governmental agencies, including county and city government, special districts and school districts.