On Wednesday, the Florida Supreme Court approved a statewide grand jury set to investigate school safety. As part of their duty, the panel will take a look at all school districts and other agencies who accepted money for school safety and failed to act accordingly. This order was approved unanimously by the seven justices in the court, three of which were appointed by DeSantis weeks after taking office. So, what happens now? Here’s what we know, there will be 18 members of the grand jury. Broward Chief Judge Jack Tutor from the 17th Circuit court in Broward, a Jeb Bush appointee, who’s twice been re-elected will chair the grand jury. All members will be from the tri-county area and the grand jury will have a year with which to investigate.
We can expect the grand jury to operate as a completely independent entity within the state. It has the ability to subpoena and to indict. For those seeking details along the way, don't expect any. The grand jury will operate in secret aside from indictment(s) that may be issued. And what’s the likely outcome here? We won’t know until we get there. 18 members is a large number of jurors for a state investigation. Previous grand jury shave included 12 jurors in Florida. By going for a large number of jurors, all from South Florida, presided over by a Chief Justice in Broward, it looks like the governor wants to get as much information processed as efficiently as possible rather than having the process drag on any longer than needed.
As a reminder Governor DeSantis was a decorated JAG officer himself, so he’d have his own ideas from his own legal experience about the most efficient way to get from here to there. Given the extensive investigations, most notably the FDLE investigation, that took place after Stoneman Douglas, one might imagine that the grand jury will have an excellent road map to work with as they begin their work. Some have wondered why Governor DeSantis hasn’t taken additional action against the Broward School Board and/or Superintendent Runice. Maybe that is all part of the bigger picture.
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