The Santa Barbara Grand Jury is a division of the Santa Barbara Superior Court. The term "grand jury" comes from the French word for "large", as they traditionally have a greater number of jurors than trial juries, also known as a "petit jury". The purpose of a grand jury is to perform investigations into potential criminal matters; this differs from the more usual usage of a trial jury, which is only to decide matters of fact.

California law requires every county to have at least one grand jury impaneled at all times. This jury primarily focuses on oversight of government institutions at the county level or lower. It gets to choose the topics to investigate (based on juror interest or public complaint), and usually publishes reports on its findings. In so doing, the grand jury selects a set of agencies that will be required to "respond" to their findings.

Wikipedia on California Grand Juries

Like most other forms of jury, grand jurors are "normal" citizens. They are not elected, nor do they have special credentials. In particular, they are not subject to the Brown Act, so their discussions are private and do not have to be accessible to the public. Unlike most other juries (including federal grand juries), where jurors are summoned, these county-level grand juries are typically made up of volunteers. 

On September 18th of 1995, the grand jury setup a website at, and on May 3rd of 1996 they announced that their reports would henceforth be published online. Spencer Boise, the Grand Jury foreman in the 1995-1996 Grand Jury, stated at the time that "we are one of the first grand juries anywhere to make its reports and the responses so broadly available".

Grand Jury Findings on Isla Vista

Throughout the years, the Santa Barbara Grand Jury has occasionally turned its attention to Isla Vista. Listed below are these findings, along with relevant responses that were required by the grand jury (duplicate responses, responses from departments only asked to respond to findings unrelated to Isla Vista, and "we owe you a response" responses are not listed: only relevant responses).

1995: Isla Vista Recreation and Park District

2001-06-06: Detention Facilities & Sheriff's Department Issues

2002-06-10: Isla Vista: Who's In Charge

2003-05-22: Isla Vista: Take Charge

2008-05-30: Illegal Camping and Parking Along Del Playa Drive in Isla Vista

2009-06-11: Halloween in Isla Vista

2012-03-27: Isla Vista and its Foot Patrol