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Palm Desert Residents Sought to Serve on County Grand Jury

The deadline to apply for the grand jury has been extended for people who live in the Coachella Valley.

Residents of eastern Riverside County who are interested in serving on the county's grand jury have an additional month to submit an application.

The Superior Court is seeking qualified applicants from the Fourth District, which stretches from the Coachella Valley to the Arizona state line. The new deadline to apply is April 30.

Residents from other districts had until March 15 to send in their paperwork.

The 19-member civil grand jury is in session year-round, investigating citizen complaints about government agencies and conducting inquiries of its own.

Current applications are for the grand jury sitting from July 1 of this year to June 30, 2014.

Applicants undergo a background screening and interviews with a selection committee, comprised of judges, one of whom must nominate juror candidates.

To be considered, an applicant must be an American citizen 18 years of age or older and a county resident for at least a year. He or she must have "sound judgment and fair character," speak English, be available for weekly hearings and meetings and have no felony convictions. Current trial jurors and elected officials are ineligible.

Panelists are not salaried, but they receive small per diem payments to cover expenses and are compensated for mileage.

Applications can be completed online at http://riverside.courts.ca.gov/. Users need to select the "Divisions" tab on the court homepage and navigate to the application. They may also request a paper application by mail. It must be returned to the court by April 30.

Court officials are available to answer questions at (951) 777-3163.

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