As It Was: Crescent City Grand Jury Makes First Report in 1883

Aug 16, 2018

The State of California ratified its constitution in 1879.  Its Article One, Section Eight required that each county form and summon a grand jury at least once a year.  The idea was to bring together discreet and thinking men to protect and defend the public interest.

On May 19, 1883, the Del Norte Record newspaper published the first report from the Crescent City Grand Jury. 

The Jury unanimously declared the jailhouse insecure and insufficient for confinement, deeming its sanitary conditions disgraceful and hazardous to health.  It said an inspection of the Chinese quarters revealed the existence of a public nuisance, causing great fear to citizens and their property by the lack of proper precautions against fire.  The Jury found the courthouse to be in a dilapidated condition and unable to meet public needs, its structure a danger for large gatherings and without accommodation for juries.

The report said the hospital was in satisfactory condition and the books and accounts of county officers appeared to be correct and in proper form, although county records were kept in a place easily subject to fire.

Jury Foreman Charles E. Hughes delivered the report to the Superior Court.

Sources: “Report of the Grand Jury." Del Norte Record, 19 May 1883, p. 3+; "Constitution of California." Wikipedia, Accessed 17 July 2018