Prosecutor says no to grand jury
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The special prosecutor assigned to investigate the Trayvon Martin case will not be using a grand jury to determine whether to arrest George Zimmerman, her office confirmed Monday.
The former prosecutor on the case, Seminole County State Attorney Norm Wolfinger, had elected to use a grand jury, and had scheduled the group to meet on Tuesday.
Duval County State Attorney Angela Corey told The Miami Herald in an interview last month that she did not expect to need a grand jury, and would likely make the decision on whether or not to charge Zimmerman herself.
“I always lean towards moving forward without needing the grand jury in a case like this,” Corey said at the time. “I foresee us being able to make a decision, and move on it on our own.”
On Monday, her office confirmed that no grand jury would be used in the case.
In Florida, the decision on whether to indict someone in capital cases must be made by a grand jury. In all lesser cases the decision to file charges are routinely made by prosecutors. But in highly controversial or difficult cases, prosecutors often defer to a grand jury, leaving the politically charged decision to a panel of citizens
Corey’s office pointed out that the decision not to take the case to a grand jury should not be taken as an indication of which way she’s going to decide.
“The decision should not be considered a factor in the final determination of the case,” her office said in a release.
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Trayvon’s parents, issued a statement after Corey’s decision Monday.
“We are not surprised by this announcement and, in fact, are hopeful that a decision will be reached very soon to arrest George Zimmerman and give Trayvon Martin’s family the simple justice they have been seeking all along,” Crump said.
Trayvon, 17, was shot and killed by Zimmerman on Feb. 26 while walking through a Sanford neighborhood where he was visiting. Sanford police opted not to arrest Zimmerman, who claimed self-defense. After public outcry, Gov. Rick Scott assigned Corey, the state attorney for Duval, Nassau and Clay counties, to take over the case on March 22.
Protesters upset over the city’s handling of the case surrounded the Sanford Police Department on Monday, forcing the offices to close to to the public. The city manager later announced the city would hold a town hall meeting to begin the “healing” on Thursday.