12.31.2006

TS - Grand Jury Findings and Recommendations

Findings and Recommendations

Finding 1: The Grand Jury finds that the DA's office is seriously understaffed.
Recommendation la: The Grand Jury recommends the DA recruit and hire additional experienced felony prosecutors.

Recommendation 1b: The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors authorize and fund additional experienced felony prosecutor positions.

Recommendation 1c: The Grand Jury recommends the DA request additional clerical support staff positions from the Board of Supervisors.

Recommendation 1d: The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors authorize the DA to hire additional clerical support staff.

Finding 2: The Grand Jury finds that the DA's office does not provide timely or adequate feedback to law enforcement agencies on the status of their crime reports.

Recommendation 2a: The Grand Jury recommends the DA continue and expand regularly-scheduled meetings with law enforcement to inform them of cases rejected for lack of information and/or evidence.

Recommendation 2b: The Grand Jury recommends the DA's office produce regularly-scheduled reports for law enforcement showing the disposition of each case. These reports must contain all relevant information regarding each case from inception to final resolution.

Recommendation 2c: The Grand Jury recommends that the DA's office confer with law enforcement agencies to ensure the reports contain the information they need.

Finding 3: The Grand Jury finds that the DA's office fails to respond to inquiries in a timely fashion, whether these are from victims, witnesses, defendants, or the Grand Jury.

Recommendation 3a: The Grand Jury recommends the DA's office, in cooperation with the Victim Witness Office, develop a written policy stating who shall promptly respond to inquiries. Prompt response is especially important to victims of crime. Recommendation

3b: The Grand Jury recommends the DA's office immediately develop a small, quick reference office manual which includes how to handle correspondence and telephone calls so they will be dealt with in a timely manner. This would be especially useful for new hires. Recommendation

3c: The Grand Jury recommends the DA personally provide a good example by responding to inquiries quickly.

Finding 4: The Grand Jury finds that the DA does not hold regular meetings with his supervisory staff.

Recommendation 4: The Grand Jury recommends the DA hold and attend regular meetings with his supervisory staff.

Finding 5: The Grand Jury finds that there is no procedure and policy manual for the office.

Recommendation 5: The Grand Jury recommends the DA develop a procedure and policy manual, to be completed by January 1, 2006.

Finding 6: The Grand Jury finds that the DA's office accepts telephone messages only from 9:00 a.m. to noon and from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays. Unless a caller knows someone's direct number, the caller cannot leave a message.

Recommendation 6: The Grand Jury recommends the DA install a voice mail system that allows callers to access the main office number and leave messages for anyone at anytime.

Finding 7: The Grand Jury finds that the DA does not provide performance evaluations for all "at will" employees.

Recommendation 7: The Grand Jury recommends the DA provide regular, written performance evaluations for all "at will" employees.

Finding 8: The Grand Jury finds that the DA has fired at least one experienced, highly-competent Deputy DA without having comparable replacements available.

Recommendation 8: The Grand Jury recommends the DA refrain from firing Deputy DAs - except for cause - unless comparable replacement prosecutors are identified and are willing to work in Humboldt County.

Finding 9: The Grand Jury finds that the "at will" employment status of Deputy DAs hinders the county in attracting quality, experienced prosecutors to work - or even to apply - in Humboldt County.

Recommendation 9a: The Grand Jury recommends that the DA develop and implement a system to provide job security for Deputy DAs protecting them from arbitrary firing. This should be done by January 1, 2006.

Recommendation 9b: The Grand Jury recommends that the Board of Supervisors be directly involved in working with the DA to develop and implement a system which provides job security for Deputy DAs.

Finding 10: The Grand Jury finds that the reasons for plea bargains in serious felonies as required by Penal Code Sections 1192.6 and 1192.7 are not documented in the court minutes.

Recommendation 10: The Grand Jury recommends that the DA require that when a serious felony case is plea-bargained, the Prosecutor shall request the Court to order that the reasons for the plea bargain be reflected in the court minutes of the case. This will make the information readily available to the public and the media.

Related:
TS - Grand Jury Findings and Recommendations
ER - 2004-05 Humboldt County Grand Jury Report 6/29/2005
TS - Grand jury issues scathing DA critique June 29, 2005
"However, the informed, well-organized, diligent leadership essential during difficult times is missing," the grand jury report said. "Operations are neither as efficient nor as effective as they must be."

McK Press - Grand Jury Report: D.A. guilty of 'weak leadership'
ER - 2004-05 Humboldt County grand jury releases its final report
NCJ - GRAND JURY REPORT IN


The Grand Jury Report on the DA's office
The Grand Jury Report on CAST
TS - Gallegos responds to grand jury findings
CAST Response/Grand Jury Report

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