Superior Court of California, County of Butte

Grand Jury - Testimonials

Grand juries have a critical role in our free society as an independent “voice of the community.” Citizens from different walks of life take on the important responsibility of investigating the conduct of government institutions as well as sometimes dealing with criminal matters. Seeing that local institutions were being governed honestly and efficiently and that public monies were being handled appropriately was the mantra of our nineteen grand jurors. We worked closely in this binding purpose with the commitment that we would report what we found, be it good or be it bad. We left our one year as grand jurors with the satisfied feeling that we’d met our commitment and that we’d provided a conscientious and just voice for our community.

John Blacklock, Foreperson, 2007-08 Butte County Grand Jury

Serving on the Butte County Grand Jury proved to be one of the most fulfilling volunteer opportunities I’ve experienced. Not only did I learn a great deal about our county and several of its agencies and cities, I also gained new friends in my fellow jurors. I felt like we made a positive contribution to all the citizens of the County by doing thorough investigations of, and reports on, the areas we chose to review. I will admit that it took a lot of time and effort but with each juror contributing, the workload was not overwhelming and the experience was greatly rewarding. I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to serve on the Grand Jury and would highly recommend it to others.

Connie Cox, Member of the 2012-2013 Butte County Grand Jury

I would encourage anyone with a chance to join a Grand Jury to do so. It is a unique opportunity to learn how the local various governments operate. It is also a chance to meet and work with exceptional fellow jurors. It is a lot of work, but it is worthwhile. You are helping the Butte County residents get an annual report that is not available anywhere else.

Ron Hostetter, Member of 2012-2013 Butte County Grand Jury

I served on two Butte County Civil Grand Juries. The rewards exceeded my expectations. I learned a lot about the numerous and diverse Butte County agencies, from Cemetery Districts, to Mosquito Abatement Districts, Air Quality Monitoring Agency, Humane Shelters, LAFCO, local cities, and many other local public agencies.

Even more rewarding is the feeling that as a local citizen I can foster positive changes in local government. Our investigative work required us to interview employees of the local agencies. After responding to our questions on the local agency’s policies and procedures, I have seen agencies change their procedures even before we issued our report. Another specific example: One of the juries that I served on performed an investigation of a local city. We found safety issues, e.g. fire hazards and fire sprinkler deficiencies, an air quality issue in City Hall, buildings near the airport which exceeded occupancy limits, building permits issued by unauthorized officials, zoning issues, and personnel issues. We issued a report with 36 findings and 31 recommendations. Two years later, a new Grand Jury investigated the same city to determine what actions had been taken. They determined that almost every one of our recommendations had been implemented. I was very proud of the service of my fellow jurors and myself to the Butte County community.

John Welton, Member of 2008/09 and 2009/10 Butte County Grand Juries

Serving on the 2009-2010 Grand Jury helped me fulfill a fantasy of being a detective. I've always been a person who wants to know how things work and why. Being a member of the Butte County Grand Jury gave me the means to delve into the inner workings of local government not available to members of the public. It was a very rewarding experience in that I was able to see how our inquiries and subsequent reports brought to light issues in and made changes to local government. Also, having only been in the community a few years, I was able to make some lifelong friendships.

One of the questions asked is how much time does serving require. There is a minimum of two to three hours a week which does increase to attend the necessary committee meetings and interviews. However, many members on my grand jury found service so interesting that they choose to donate more time.

Training for new grand jurors throughout the state is provided by the California Grand Jurors’ Association, a state-wide organization composed of prior grand jurors. Serving on the Butte County Grand Jury was so rewarding that I subsequently became one of the first members of the Butte County Chapter of the California Grand Juror's Association. Our chapter of the Association exists to educate the public about the California Grand Jury system, assist the court in anyway regarding the Grand Jury system and assist the Butte County Grand Jury with non-confidential and procedural matters.

If you are given the opportunity to serve, take it and enjoy.

Denise Hopper, Member of 2009/2010 Butte County Grand Jury

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