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Alameda County grand jury adjourns in disarray

The Alameda County Court House
Flickr / Creative Commons
The Alameda County Court House

The turmoil began last year when the Alameda County District Attorney's Office under former District Attorney Nancy O'Malley withdrew its usual assistance for the jury for an investigation into the District Attorney's Office, according to the final report by the jury.

The District Attorney's Office withdrew its supportbecause it said the jury's investigation caused a conflict of interest with the office. The Alameda County Counsel's office stepped in to provide legal support for the investigation.

Then, when District Attorney Pamela Price took office in January, her office withdrew support for all investigations by the jury. Price's office said it had a conflict of interest but did not elaborate.

Torin Fischer , the foreperson for the previously empaneled grand jury, said: "We don't know why it happened. I'm not going to speculate. It did cause some frustration."

Investigations nearly stopped altogether when the support was withdrawn, according to the jury's final report, which provides the details of the investigations it completed during its 12-month term.

Jurists had to format, design and produce that final report because the District Attorney's Office never replaced the support last term.

Civil grand juries in each of California's counties investigate local governments to hold them accountable for working in the best interests of citizens.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.