Whether you're eager to bring justice to OC, or you've just always wanted to indict a ham sandwich, there's good news: Orange County Superior Court is accepting applications for the 2007-08 grand jury. If you are 18 or older, have been a resident of the county for at least one year, posses “ordinary intelligence” and a decent command of English, and more or less meet these other criteria, you qualify. (There will be a background check, so don't bother trying to fake “ordinary intelligence”.)
The grand jury, of course, does make decisions on criminal indictments (both ham sandwich and non-ham sandwich-related), but most of its time is spent on civil investigations.
The civil, or “watchdog” responsibilities of the grand jury include the examination of all aspects of county government, including special districts, to ensure the county is being governed honestly and efficiently and county monies are being handled appropriately. The grand jury is mandated by law to inquire into the conditions and management of public jails.
Investigations may be conducted on public agencies, the administration and affairs of any city within the county, or to examine books and records of redevelopment agencies. It is also appropriate for any private citizen, county official or county employee to present a written complaint to a grand jury for investigation.
During its term, the grand jury may select the government affairs which it wishes to investigate. These investigations are conducted by Grand Jury committees in cooperation with the departments and agencies of the county. Committees may ask for support and advice from Superior Court, District Attorney's office, County Counsel or outside consultants.
In addition to a sense of having done their civic duty, grand jurors receive free parking and “$50.00 per day not to exceed $250.00 per week” (plus mileage to and from meetings). So, if you are of ordinary intelligence, etc., and interested in making the wheels of justice in OC turn, you can watch a recruitment video here and find an application here. Applications can also be obtained by calling (714) 834-6747.