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Statewide grand jury on Florida school safety gets 6-month extension

File photo of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (RHONA WISE/AFP via Getty Images) (RHONA WISE, Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Supreme Court on Friday approved extending the term of a statewide grand jury that was impaneled after the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County.

Justices agreed to extend the grand jury’s term until April 17, after a request from the office of Statewide Prosecutor Nicholas Cox.

Shortly after taking office in 2019, Gov. Ron DeSantis asked the Supreme Court to impanel the grand jury to investigate school-safety issues, a request that was granted by the court.

The statewide grand jury began meeting in June 2019 for what was expected to be a 12-month period. But the grand-jury proceedings had to be suspended this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, leading to an extension of the term to Oct. 16.

“The statewide grand jury has diligently investigated the issues identified by this honorable court’s order (impaneling the grand jury), several of which have required evidence from every county in the state,” said the request last month by the statewide prosecutor’s office for an additional extension. “Despite diligent efforts -- including the issuance of two interim reports -- a significant amount of work remains in order to fully and completely investigate the subjects identified by this honorable court in its impanelment order.”