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Not-So-Grand Jury Articles

August 24, 1986

For years I have been patiently waiting for an in-depth article on the grand jury system. Now you have finally tackled the subject and the result is an incredibly bad piece of journalism.

The only way in which the effectiveness of grand juries can really be judged is to find out how many of their recommendations are being adopted by the heads of the departments (experts) and boards of supervisors. The writers of your articles obviously never checked this out.

In Orange County, during the past three years, the Board of Supervisors concurred completely with more than 60% of their grand juries' recommendations and partially concurred with 14% more. It seems to me that these figures clearly negate the notion that it requires "expert knowledge" to offer competent suggestions. On our jury was a wealth of diverse experience and a willingness to study each subject in depth before we offered our ideas on how certain facets of county government might be improved.

The California Grand Jurors Assn. and several local grand jurors associations have for years been active in trying to improve the selection process and to educate incoming grand jurors about their duties and powers and how to function effectively.

It is my hope that in the future you will report not only the recommendations of grand juries but also their rationale for their suggestions and follow this with a report on the replies by the boards of supervisors or outside agencies.


Santa Ana

Klipstein was chairman of the administration and general services agency committees on the 1985 Orange County Grand Jury.

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