COLLIN CO. (KRLD) — An employee at the Collin County District Clerk’s office accidentally sent a secret document listing members of a grand jury to 93 e-mail recipients.
Many of them were not supposed to get the list.
By law, proceedings of the grand jury are supposed to be secret. However, a deputy District Court clerk hit the wrong group message button and e-mailed the names of all the grand jury members.
For some it was no harm, no foul. Recipients included judges clerks and attorneys, people who can typically see such a list. But the list also includes several reporters, and Buzzard Billy’s Bail Bonds, recipients clearly not intended to get the names of the grand jury.
While embarrassing, and technically a violation of the law, former Dallas County Chief Criminal District Judge John Creuzot doubts heads will roll.
“There is a provision that says that you should not give out the names of grand jurors and any other personal information,” said Creuzot. “But it also says you can apply to the court for good cause show to get it.”
Meaning if an attorney wants to challenge an indictment, they can get the names to see if there might be a reason to quash the indictment.
Creuzot says it’s clear this was a mistake, because a half hour after the e-mail was sent, a second, frantic e-mail demanded all the unintended recipients “please immediately delete the previous email sent in error.”
Creuzot additionally points out the names are read aloud in court when the grand jury is sworn in, something that is public.
“I don’t know how many grand juries I’ve sworn over the 22 years, but all that is done in the courtroom.”
Still, there are high profile cases that require absolute secrecy that are pending in Collin County. For instance, special prosecutors say they intend to present a felony case against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. A second high-profile case involves a former McKinney Police officer seen waiving a gun at unarmed teenagers.
It’s unclear whether District Clerk Andrea Thompson is going to put any new safeguards in place to prevent such an accident from happening again as repeated phone calls and e-mails were not returned.
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