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The Florida Supreme Court accepted a request by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to create a statewide jurisdiction grand jury to deal specifically with human trafficking, including foreign immigrants and children arriving in the country unaccompanied.
DeSantis, who is seeking re-election as governor this year, requested in mid-June the creation of the special grand jury on the grounds that there are good and sufficient reasons to do so, the Supreme Court said in its favorable response to the request.
The new grand jury, which will be presided by Judge Ellen S. Masters and is to be impaneled promptly to work for a term of twelve calendar months, will investigate crimes, bring indictments and perform all other functions of such judicial bodies.
The members of the grand jury will be selected from a list to be submitted by Masters, the Chief Judge of Florida’s 10th Judicial District.
Among the long list of crimes that will fall under her jurisdiction are: bribery, burglary, car theft, home invasion robbery, criminal usury, extortion, gambling, kidnapping, larceny, murder, prostitution, perjury, and all those involving narcotics or other dangerous drugs.
Also, violation of the Florida law relating to racketeer-influenced and corrupt organizations act (RICO), organized criminal activity, monopoly formation, computer crimes, fraud or deceit, child pornography and exploitation, and money laundering, among others.
The Supreme Court’s order also refers, in listing the functions of the new grand jury, to investigating crimes involving parents, guardians or other family members of unaccompanied alien children who have conspired with transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) or other illicit actors to smuggle, and thus endanger, their children.
It may also investigate persons and organizations that are involved, directly or indirectly, in transactions with TCOs, their members, or other illicit actors who smuggle or traffic unaccompanied alien children or other illegal aliens to Florida.
As DeSantis’ petition states, the federal government’s failure to control the southern border is well documented, so the agency should be created.