2023 CGJA Training Programs

Every year the California Grand Jurors’ Association (CGJA) conducts training seminars for civil grand jurors and alternates on their various civil functions. Experienced and highly qualified trainers who have served as civil grand jurors or civil grand jury legal advisors present these programs locally, throughout the state, as “onsite” seminars for one to three counties. These seminars include approximately twelve hours of presentations and over 300 pages of training materials. CGJA is now providing training seminars as needed throughout the year to counties who will be impaneling either on a fiscal or calendar-year basis. The seminars can be conducted using Zoom if local restrictions on in-person gatherings exist.

CGJA also conducts Foreperson and Pro Tem Workshops, Legal Advisors’ Workshops, and Report Writing Workshops. See below for more information on these important workshops.

For further information on any of the CGJA training programs, please contact Training Committee Chair, Marsha Caranci, or by phone at (530) 242-6554.



Grand Jury Training Seminars

Foreperson and Pro Tem Workshops

Legal Advisors’ Training and Workshops

Report Writing Workshops

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Click on any seminar or workshop below for more information, including location and cost.

Civil Grand Jury Training Seminars

The regular civil grand jury training seminar consists of approximately twelve hours of presentations spread over two days conducted on site or via Zoom. Individual attendee registration is not required as the county pays a set fee for all attendees.

Training Seminar Content

Our training seminars are for both new and returning civil grand jurors, as well as for alternates. Our objective is to provide the knowledge and skills required by grand jurors to perform their civil oversight functions. The general session core subjects are:

Civil Grand Jury Overview

This session orients jurors to the grand jury’s mission and the historical context of the grand jury system in California. It includes an overview of the civil grand jury year with an emphasis on what takes place during each phase of the jury’s term. It covers organization of the grand jury (including the responsibilities of the foreperson and the other members of thecivil  grand jury) and the concept of the civil grand jury as a collegial, non-hierarchical body, sharing authority and operating as a unit.

Civil Grand Jury Law

This session sensitizes jurors to the role of state law in governing civil grand jury activities. Citing specific Penal Code sections, it identifies what the grand jury must, may, and may not do. It provides references to case law and Attorney General Opinions useful to a fuller understanding of the grand jury’s powers and limitations as they pertain to its civil oversight function. The presentation also describes the accusation process for removing a person from public office.

Local Governments

This session describes the various local government agencies and entities that the civil grand jury is authorized to investigate and write reports about, including the county, cities, special districts, school districts, joint powers authorities, and other specialized entities. In addition, this session introduces jurors to the laws that govern these governments, including state codes, regulations, case law, and local charters and ordinances.

Legal Topics

This session addresses the potential for juror defamation, the roles of the civil grand jury’s statutory advisors, and the transparency and ethics laws that apply to all local governments, including the Ralph M. Brown Act, the Public Records Act, and the Political Reform Act.

Grand Jury Investigations

This session defines civil grand jury investigations, discusses juror conflicts and recusals, and lays the groundwork for conducting grand jury investigations. Other topics include deciding what to investigate, planning and organizing the investigation, and conducting the investigation – stressing verification of information through “triangulation.” The session also covers how the final report must flow directly from the investigation.

Civil Grand Jury Interviews

Civil grand jurors will learn how to plan the interview, develop questions, conduct the interview, and analyze and verify the information they obtain. The session also covers the importance of confidentiality and of determining the objectives of the interview. A portion of this session deals with proper professional demeanor, maintaining objectivity, and not jumping to conclusions. The session concludes with a video demonstration of a mock interview that highlights interviewing principles and best practices.

Civil Grand Jury Reports

This session covers the reasons for writing reports, the types of final reports, and the report format and content. It introduces the writing process, including report organization; the responsibilities of the primary writer, investigating committee, editorial committee and full panel; the time required to draft and edit the report; and the report release process. It also describes the use of exit interviews to confirm the reports’ findings. The fall Report Writing Workshops (see below) are a more intensive handling of this topic and help build the skills civil grand jurors need in order to write effective reports.

Additional Workshops

In addition to the core sessions, the seminar includes a workshop on Collegiality. Video presentations on Continuity and Detention Facility Inspections are available for viewing after the seminar, and a webinar will be available on Special Districts late summer or early fall.

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Foreperson and Pro Tem Workshops

Click on “Foreperson and Pro Tem Workshops” above for dates and to register.

Foreperson and Pro Tem Workshop Content

This workshop covers the leadership responsibilities of the foreperson and other officers of the civil grand jury. These workshops are now conducted remotely via Zoom for wider participation and are presented as two half-day sessions. Topics include:

• How to get started

• Useful techniques for organizing the jury

• Coordinating and facilitating the civil grand jury’s work

• Team building

• California law as it applies to the foreperson’s duties and responsibilities

• The administrative and leadership roles and functions of the foreperson and pro tem

• Dealing with interpersonal issues and conflict resolution techniques

Participants take part in a variety of group activities to enhance the learning experience through the sharing of ideas.

Legal Advisors’ Training and Workshops

Click on “Legal Advisors’ Training and Workshops” above for dates and to register.

Legal Advisors’ Workshop Content

The workshop focuses on the attorney’s role in providing legal services to the civil grand jury in connection with its civil investigatory functions. Topics include civil grand jury jurisdiction; compelling the production of records; advisors’ conflicts and ethical walls; defamation avoidance; civil grand juror misconduct and discharge, including due process concerns; and the attorney’s review of civil grand jury reports for legal compliance. These workshops are now conducted remotely via Zoom for wider participation and are presented as two half-day sessions.

Those who attend the Legal Advisors’ Workshop will receive the 2023-2024 CGJA Training Manual, CGJA’s Report Writing Workshop Training Manual, the 2023 Legal Advisors’ Guide, and the Compendium of California Grand Jury Law.

CGJA is approved by the State Bar of California as an MCLE provider. Six credit hours will be given for attendance at this workshop.

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Report Writing Workshops

Click on “Report Writing Workshops” above for dates and to register.

Report Writing Workshops Content

CGJA conducts report writing workshops to expand on the information presented at the regular civil grand jury training seminars. These workshops provide a step-by-step description of civil grand jury report writing, covering such topics as report format and content, distinguishing between facts and findings, tips on how to use compelling language, report editing, conducting exit interviews to verify findings, and the process and requirements for releasing individual reports. These workshops provide helpful tools enabling grand juries to improve the quality, readability, accuracy, and effectiveness of their reports. Hands-on exercises will provide practice in developing effective findings and recommendations.

2023 Seminar and Workshop Fees
Regular Training Seminar, Onsite, single county, two days $2,600 for up to 19 people, and $30 per person thereafter
Regular Training Seminar, Onsite, two counties, two days $1,800 per county for up to 19 people each, and $30 per person thereafter
Regular Training Seminar, Onsite, three counties, two days $1,600 per county for up to 19 people each, and $30 per person thereafter
Regular Training Seminar, Remote, single county, two days $1,800 for up to 19 people, and $30 per person thereafter
Regular Training Seminar, Remote, two counties, two days $1,200 for up to 12 people per county, and $30 per person thereafter
Foreperson and Pro Tem Workshop, Remote $50 per person
Legal Advisors' Workshop, Remote $105 per person
Report Writing Workshops, Onsite, single county $1,600 for up to 19 people
Report Writing Workshop, Remote, single county $900 for up to 19 people
Report Writing Workshop, Remote, multi-county $50 per person