Written by Barbara Sommer Thursday, 04 February 2010 06:03
by Barbara Sommer
Foreperson 2009-10 Yolo County Grand Jury
Yolo County is currently seeking members for the 2010-2011 Grand Jury. Nineteen citizens, selected by an interview and random draw, comprise this arm of the judicial system. It is a watchdog organization whose civil job is to investigate corruption, malfeasance, or simply inefficiency in the agencies and offices in its jurisdiction that receive public funds. Are local agencies doing their job? Are they following the rules? Problems are identified on the basis of complaints submitted from the public or from investigations initiated by the Grand Jury itself.
Applicants must be citizens, age 18-years or older, Yolo County residents for at least a year, have a sufficient knowledge of English, be of sound judgment and fair character, with no felony or malfeasance in office convictions. After being interviewed by a Superior Court Judge and the Jury Commissioner, the applicants’ names are entered into a random draw. Nineteen are selected for the Grand Jury, with the remaining applicants as official alternates. Jurors serve for a term of one year, with a possibility of carryover to the next year for five jurors at the courts’ discretion.
Unlike the usual jury for a Court case, the Grand Jury is a more active body. It does its own investigations, including scheduling, data analysis, interviews, oversight visits, and writing reports. The main product of its activity is a public report issued at the end of its term in June. It can investigate any person, agency, or office in local government (city, county, special districts). However, the Grand Jury can neither prosecute nor punish. There is no direct staff support. The work is done by the nineteen members, although they can call on the designated Grand Jury Judge, County Counsel, District Attorney, and the State Attorney General for advice. In addition, a statewide organization (California Grand Juror’s Association) comprised of current and former grand jury members, provides education, training, and general support (see website at http://cgja.org/).
In Yolo County, the jurors also serve as a criminal Grand Jury. The District Attorney may request the Grand Jury to return an indictment – a formal accusation leading to criminal trial. An indictment hearing is an alternative to a preliminary hearing in Superior Court. A key difference is that the Grand Jury hearing is secret. The DA may choose this alternative in order to protect witnesses or the accused, and to get a sense of the strength of a case from a community perspective.
Why serve? You may be able to bring to the jury a needed perspective based on your age or your particular background. Meetings are arranged to accommodate the schedules of people with work and family commitments. A strong Grand Jury is one that is truly representative of Yolo County’s diversity. You will learn much about local government, get an inside view of the criminal justice system, work with fellow jurors of different backgrounds, and learn about group processes and negotiation with colleagues holding different perspectives. The Grand Jury work requires a significant time requirement and can be tedious but a Grand Jury that is able to establish clear goals and procedures early on will be successful and personally gratifying.
For more information and an application, see http://www.yolocounty.org/Index.aspx?page=786
The application deadline is Thursday, April 15, 2010
Barbara Sommer, Foreperson
2009-2010 Yolo County Grand Jury
Yolo Chapter, California Grand Jurors’ Association
To advocate for and provide support to the Yolo County Grand Jury.
To increase public awareness of the value of the Grand Jury in promoting a democratic, open, and honest system of county governance.
We have three general foci this year:
1) Outreach – meet with county officials and educate the public about the role of the Grand Jury
2) Implementation – follow up on report recommendations and responses of county and city agencies
3) Training – provide training for Grand Jurors
The Yolo Chapter is organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
We meet on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 5 PM at Mojos, located at 428 First Street, Woodland, CA
James Cheney, Treasurer
Cathrine Lemaire, Secretary
James Painter, Vice President
Barbara Sommer, President
Kathleen Stock, Member at Large
Dear Editor of Judicial Council Watcher:
If not a bother, will it be possible for you to please delete my prior comment from this column. The comment contains inaccurate and incomplete information. For example, although yesterday I believed Barbara Sommer was the president of Yolo County Grand Jury, upon further research I discovered an error. Namely, that she is actually the President of Yolo Chapter California Grand Jurors’ Association. She did serve as grand juror/foreperson from 2008-2010.
Also, upon reflection, my comment of yesterday may create the wrong impression in the mind of your readers that I contacted the District Attorney of Yolo County for the sole purpose of reporting a crime by Judge David Rosenberg, Lea Rosenberg, and Barbara Sommer.
In fact, the Yolo DA was primarily contacted to simply alert him of my plan to seek information directly from Lea Rosenberg and/or David Rosenberg due to their extensive (and in my opinion — suspicious) involvement with various non-profits as not to run afoul of rules pertaining to ex-parte communications.
As you know from reading parts of Dydzak’s lawsuit, after I unearthed various schemes including, for example, by Judicial Council / Voice of OC members Joe Dunn and Thomas Girardi (i.e. CaliforniaALL ), and after I reported Voice of OC to the IRS, members of the State Bar of California Board of Governors (i.e. Joe Dunn, Jon Streeter of Keker & Van Nest — colleague of Chris Young who was a behind the scene actor of CaliforniaALL) pressed criminal charges against me with the Yolo DA “on behalf” of the entire “State Bar of California”
Since I strongly suspect Judicial Council members Mark Robinson (also part of CaliforniaALL scheme in his capacity as director of UC Irvine Foundation – where Joe Dunn serves as Chairman of the Audit Committee, and where CaliforniaALL forwarded all funds — including funds obtained from the California Bar Foundation), Tani Cantil-Sakauye (friend of Ruthe Ashley — CaliforniaALL executive director), and David Rosenberg are also somehow involved in provoking the Yolo DA , I begun to examine the background of David Rosenberg .