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Judge starts grand jury process

An order empaneling a grand jury was signed by Douglas County District Judge Tod Young on Monday.

It has been eight years since the last grand jury completed its work and filed its report, something Young recognized in his order.

“… A substantial period of time has passed since a grand jury reviewed the operation of Douglas County government,” Young wrote.

A grand jury has been a topic of discussion since May when District Attorney Mark Jackson said he would ask that the grand jury investigate Douglas County Sewer Improvement District No. 1.

Among the duties of the grand jury enumerated in Young’s order was to investigate “the misconduct in office of public officers of every description within the county which may constitute a violation of a provision of chapter 197 of Nevada Revised Statutes.”

Also on jurors’ grocery list “any and all matters affecting the morals, health and general welfare of the inhabitants of the county, or any administrative division thereof, or any township … irrigation district or town therein”

Grand jurors also investigate the conditions in the county’s jails and may issue criminal indictments.

Douglas County Jury Commissioner Bobbie Williams said complaint forms will be available at the clerk’s office and online starting Sept. 1.

Part of her duties will be to randomly select three groups of 50 Douglas residents from the 2016 jury pool, who are eligible to serve.

Each potential juror will get a questionnaire to fill out and information about the amount of pay, the estimated time required to serve and the duties required.

From those questionnaires, three dozen willing to serve will be sent to the judge, who will pick out the jurors and alternates.

The grand jury consists of 17 members and 12 alternates, who step in should a grand juror not be able to complete the year.

In Nevada, counties with fewer than 100,000 residents, like Douglas, are not required to call a grand jury every four years.

This will be the third Douglas County grand jury in the 21st Century.

Williams said that questionnaires will go out to prospective jurors during the first part of September. She said anyone with questions should call 782-9820.

Grand jurors have the power to subpoena witnesses and compel them to testify. Grand jury proceedings are confidential until the filing of the final report.

During a May 23 presentation to county commissioners, Jackson accused the district of soliciting an ethics complaint against a county employee to make county commissioners approve a gravel pit in the East Valley.