[Yolo County] Woodland League of Women Voters holds annual luncheon

Blog note: this article summarizes the remarks of the luncheon keynote speaker, a superior court judge, on the topic: “The Past, Present, and Future of the California Grand Jury.”

A room full of attendees feasted on vegetarian soup, cornbread, salad and carrot cake before listening to a keynote speech by Judge Daniel Maguire.

The 25th Annual State of the Community Luncheon, held on Thursday at the Woodland United Methodist Church, is a fundraiser for the Woodland League of Women Voters.

As dues paid by members primarily go the national and state leagues for their work, the Woodland league holds the event every year to raise money for local efforts such as the Woodland Tree Foundation, Neighborhood Court and Youth Empowerment Summit.

Notable guests included Supervisor Gary Sandy, Woodland School Board Trustee Jacob Whitaker, Superintendent of Schools Garth Lewis and County Administrator Patrick Blacklock.

President Laura Kofoid thanked the sponsors and volunteers who made the luncheon possible before introducing Judge Maguire, who spoke on “The Past, Present, and Future of the California Grand Jury.”

Maguire currently serves as Yolo County Superior Court’s assistant presiding judge. He’s a graduate of Stanford and Harvard Law School who worked as a private practice lawyer and deputy legal affairs secretary for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger before being appointed to the Yolo Superior Court bench in 2010.

The thesis of his keynote was: “The grand jury is an ancient institution that has proved to be flexible and adaptable, which has allowed it to survive over the millennium, but it must adapt to changing times in order to survive and be relevant.”

Some suggestions he gave for the grand jury to stay relevant were that “the grand jury should not be seen as having comprehensive review of county operations that is looking at everything at the same time” and instead dig “narrowly, but deeply and focus its efforts” to be more of a local think tank. Maguire advocated that the current one-year grand juror term should be extended to two years and said a state level grand jury should be created instead of just having them on the county level.

The latter two suggestions would require related laws to change.

Yolo County is accepting applications for grand jurors through March.

March 2, 2019

Daily Democrat

By Heather Kemp