UVALDE, Texas – A special grand jury was seated Friday in Uvalde County to review the case of the Robb Elementary school shooting case, the Uvalde Leader-News reported Friday.
The special grand jury of the 38th Judicial District Court is comprised of 12 Uvalde County residents who are expected to spend at least six months studying the May 24, 2022, shooting that claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers, the report said.
The formation of the grand jury comes one day after US Justice Department officials traveled to Uvalde to release a scathing report on the failures of law enforcement to respond to the massacre.
However, according to a social media post by Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell, the DOJ report will not impact her independent investigation.
While a grand jury usually reviews dozens of cases presented by prosecutors, this panel will solely focus on Robb shooting and serve as investigative tools for Mitchell and her prosecuting team with power to subpoena witnesses and compel evidence, the report said.
This type of jury is utilized for complex cases that may be labor-intensive, including public corruption cases.
Jurors may meet about twice a month, depending upon work schedules, as they hear testimony from witnesses and study the case presented by Mitchell. At the end of the procedure, they should make a recommendation and possibly issue a report on their findings, the report said.
At that time, should Mitchell decide to pursue charges, she would then present that case to a regular grand jury.
In the past, KSAT spoke with Alexandra Klein, an assistant professor at St. Mary’s University School of Law about possible charges that could be filed against law enforcement officers who failed to act during the shooting at Robb.
Klein stated it’s hard to speculate as to what charges could be filed without access to a full case file, however, charges of injury to a child by omission or child neglect could be possible.
“But again, if you have an omission, a failure to act, you have to prove that there’s a legal duty that was breached,” said Klein.
In Texas, there is no penal code for child neglect, instead, charges are referred to as abandoning or endangering a child.
According to the Texas penal code, a person convicted of child endangering “is a felony of the second degree if the actor abandons the child under circumstances that a reasonable person would believe would place the child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment.”
Felony charges have a statute of limitations between two years and no expiration date, and Klein points out that some crimes against children have a statute of limitations that extends a full 10 years past the 18th birthday of the victim of the offense.