Miayres has had enough of the Loudoun County School Board, as he calls their attempts to halt a special grand jury as being “legally baseless.”
As previously reported, the Loudoun County School Board is seeking to halt the grand jury investigation, convened by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, into its handling of sexual abuse cases that have taken place in its schools. The troubled school board has been under near-constant criticism after the fallout from the botched handling of a sexual assault case that rocked Loudoun County Public Schools.
In response to the special grand jury, the school board is seeking a temporary injunction to prohibit any further actions by the special grand jury, claiming that Governor Youngkin went beyond his legal power and that the empaneled special grand jury is being used unlawfully.
This Wednesday, Miyares has filed a motion, saying the school board’s suit should be dismissed: “The Complaint seeks to shut down or control a lawfully instituted criminal investigation and any subsequent prosecutions.” Citing previous rulings, Miyares argues the doctrine of sovereign immunity protects his investigation “from burdensome interference with the performance of its governmental functions.”
In addition, Miyares said an ongoing criminal investigation cannot be halted by an injunction in a civil case, since the school board has other options — to attempt to quash a subpoena, and to attempt to dismiss any indictments. He also went on to say that the school board’s request to limit the scope “fundamentally misstates the role of a special grand jury” and is “legally baseless.”
“The results of this investigative process cannot possibly be known at the outset of the investigation,” Miyares wrote. “A special grand jury necessarily has the power to conduct a wide-ranging and thorough investigation into alleged unlawful activity — even if that investigation does not result in any indictment of any kind.”
The school board’s attorney Steven T. Webster, argues that the special grand jury is causing consternation and expense to subpoenaed families and the school system while continuing to search for wrongdoing.
“Once the government determines it is not proceeding criminally, it must terminate a grand jury investigation,” he wrote, saying the Supreme Court has held it is proper to prevent “the indiscriminate summoning of witnesses with no definitive objective in view and in a spirit of meddlesome inquiry.”
In response, Miyares disputes the school board’s claims that the special grand jury will interfere with the operation of LCPS:
“This potential interference is entirely speculative, because it is based on school employees’ concern ‘that the Attorney General could issue a witness subpoena,’” and that there is a threat of “the Attorney General potentially entangling LCPS employees.”
According to Miyares, while courts have repeatedly held that it “is no doubt extremely unpleasant to be the subject of a criminal investigation,” it doesn’t cause the irreparable injury that would merit “an injunction against a criminal investigation.”
A Loudoun County Circuit Court judge will hear arguments on whether to grant an injunction in regards to the special grand jury on July 11. Hopefully the injunction can be thrown out as soon as possible, so Miyares and the special grand jury can get back to doing their jobs and investigating this school board for the allegations they have been accused of.