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Monday’s Letters to the Editor

Grand jury powers

EDITOR: The 2013-14 grand jury report doesn’t shrink the understanding of the panel’s investigating power. It is evidenced by the many thorough reports published by past and recent grand juries. We never intended to dismiss or degrade any work done by past grand juries, and I’m not sure why Ellen O’Connor (“Grand jury inquiries,” Letters, Thursday) chose to do so.

We wrote the report to correct a public misconception about the role of the grand jury. Over the past year, the sheriff and the district attorney have repeatedly told the public that the grand jury will get the Andy Lopez reports and do an investigation.

Generally, the grand jury reads and reviews the report from the district attorney and then supports the district attorney’s findings that the protocol was followed, the report was done without bias and that no criminal liability to law enforcement was found.

There has never been another finding since the grand jury started its reviews in 2001.

The task force appointed by the Board of Supervisors is doing its own investigation of the grand jury’s critical-incident reviews, and we wanted to be sure the task force and the public understands the role and limitations of the grand jury.

We are not a civilian review board for many reasons.

JACKIE BRITTAIN

Sonoma County civil grand juror, 2013-14

Preventing tragedies


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