El Dorado County Grand Jury Disbands after Mass Resignation
A watchdog panel charged by the state Legislature and courts with investigating local government in El Dorado County won't be issuing a report this year.
Fourteen of the 19 members of the county's civil grand jury resigned last month, leading Supervising Judge Steven Bailey to take the extraordinary step of dissolving the 2012-13 grand jury.
Grand jury foreman Ray Van Asten said he was among the members who submitted their resignations en masse Feb. 19, eight months into their yearlong term.
"I can't discuss what occurred inside the jury room," Van Asten said.
Due to a situation that created insurmountable dissension, Van Asten said, he and others concluded they could not continue their work on the jury...
the issue for the El Dorado County grand jury was that a member violated the confidentiality of closed-door proceedings. The investigation reportedly involved a member of the county Board of Supervisors...
Supervising Judge Bailey, brother-in-law of Board of Supervisors Chairman Ron Briggs, said he was made aware that there were some issues among the jurors. "I'd like to be able to say what I was asked to do, but I can't," he said, citing confidentiality requirements.
Bailey said he did not know what issues the grand jury was investigating, explaining that he had not been invited to attend any of the sessions or asked to provide any legal advice. Had there been any conflict of interest, Bailey said, he would have recused himself.
Kingsbury said she would expect a supervising judge to inform her if he or she had a conflict of interest regarding a grand jury investigation. But she and Trautman said supervising judges often don't know what grand juries are investigating.
"I would venture that in most cases, the judge wouldn't want to know," Kingsbury said. "You don't want to do anything that steers them (grand jurors) in a particular direction, or away from a particular direction."