NEWSLETTER – MARCH 2016

We have been quite busy this first half of the year, as evidenced by the following activities.

OUTREACH   

Jean Gunn, Chair
Jean Gunn, Chair

The annual OUTREACH  program to make the public aware of the Grand Jury duties and accomplishments added to its five Open House Public Presentations at various places within the county by holding the Chapter’s first ever class at COM Continuing Education (Emeritus).  Our member instructors were Rich Treadgold and Susan Simpson. Fourteen people had signed up, one dropped out the day before, and 15 showed up for the class – sixteen if you count Susan’s husband, Lee.  Rich reports that working with Susan was a dream – we had a fun time. Lots of questions and interaction among the participants. Several indicated they would submit applications immediately, and the rest very favorably inclined, but wanting to discuss with spouse. I believe this is a very time and cost effective way to reach out. Next one set for April 9th, but only one signup at this point.

Currently, 27 applicants have signed up for the 2016-2017 Grand Jury.

INTERVIEWING 

Tom Borden Chair
Tom Borden Chair

Introductory Meetings with Applicants to the Grand Jury

For several years we have been providing a service to the presiding judge by participating in the interviews that all applicants for a new Grand Jury receive before their application is approved for addition to the lottery drawing box for selection.

Starting this year the Presiding Judge has requested that we assume responsibility for all of the interviews, including written observations on the results with each applicant.  The Judge plans to then use these observations in deciding the appropriateness of each applicant and, ultimately, selection of the new ForePerson.

As a result of this increased responsibility we have formed a new Committee, named the Selection Advisory Committee, to carry out this function.

The goal of the committee is to improve on the selection process by identifying the most qualified potential jurors through a two-pronged approach, overseen by the Presiding Judge.  First, seven applicants at a time will participate in a group activity facilitated by Rich Treadgold, as well as two additional former Jurors who will observe the activity in order to evaluate the ability of the applicants to effectively work within a group.  Following this activity two additional former jurors will interview each applicant as they have in the past.  While the interview format will be essentially the same, several of the questions have been modified to be behavioral in nature in order to identify applicants who have specific competencies based on experience that would make them highly qualified for jury service. 

Interviews and sessions will be held on April 26th, April 28th, May 3rd and May 5th in the afternoon from noon until 4:00 PM.

Selection of the applicants for the new Grand Jury will take place on June 16 in time for our Training Program (see the next page) and for the new Grand Jury to embark on its duties starting July 1, 2016.

Approximately 30 of our members will be participating in these interviews.  They will be trained as to their interview duties in 2 sessions, on April 5 and April 21.

TRAINING 

Chair
Chair

Planning for the training of the new Grand Jurors has now been essentially completed.  It will take place the entire second week of July with an additional day about two weeks later.

Click here to view a DRAFT of the Training Schedule for 2016 Grand Jurors

If any member would like to be considered as an “instructor” for one of the eight manual sections, please let Rich know as soon as possible. He will get you a draft of the current revised manual to begin preparation.

Thanks also go to Rich and Paul who are making progress on our revised Training Manual.  The last revision was made in 2009 so it was time for a new upgrade.

IRC – Meeting with Dick Spotswood

Helene Marsh Chair
Helene Marsh Chair
The IRC welcomed Dick Spotswood to their monthly meeting on 3/3/16. The goal was to inform Dick about the follow up work that the IRC has been doing in the last few years and to make him aware of the information available on the MCCGJA website.
The committee explained the history of IRC and reviewed a few reports on the website.
Dick was impressed and recommended that IRC contact the editorial committee of the IJ to get an op-ed piece published.
In response to the question of which issues in Marin are the most pressing, he thinks these are The Ross Valley Flood Protection Plan, traffic and SMART.

LUNCHEON 

Nancy Frease, Chair
Nancy Frease, C0-Chair

A Chapter luncheon was held for about 20 members and guests in the Redwood Room of Marin Joe’s in Corte Madera on March 22. Our guest speaker was Lisa Brinkmann, Executive Director of Marin Villages, a non-profit organization whose mission is to help older adults remain independent in their homes and provide opportunities for them to be engaged in the community and social activities.

Click here to view pictures of that lunch.