Grand Jury Picnic Fun! – should Homicide ASA’s accept an invitation to a potluck gathering extended by former Grand Jurors who reportedly handled the Cruz case and numerous other murder charges?
The SAO doesn’t see why not. From an official email received earlier today:
On June 28th, the Broward County Grand Jury, January through June 2018 session, ended their term of service. There was no further business presented to these jurors.
Roughly three weeks later, on July 17th, the grand jury coordinator in our office, received an email from a former grand juror inviting staff members from the State Attorney’s Office, who worked with the grand jury, to a potluck gathering. That email was forwarded to several employees at the State Attorney’s Office.
A few staff members felt it was appropriate to attend the potluck to personally thank the jurors for their months of service. The gathering was this past weekend on July 29th.
Obviously, no state funds were used at this event. After a grand jury has finished their term and they have been discharged from service, there is nothing inappropriate with former grand jurors inviting staff members from our office to a potluck picnic.
The Public Defender’s Office sees things differently. From Gordon Weekes, Chief Assistant PD:
This calls into question whether those ASA’s engaged in misconduct during Grand Jury presentations that allowed them to get so close and friendly to jurors to cause them to want to hang out and party. Every single indictment they obtained needs to be reviewed, as these are life and death decisions.
Are do-overs necessary? Has an appearance of impropriety been created? Or is it just sour grapes over not being invited to a fun gathering?
YOU MAKE THE CALL!