Judge Dismisses Perjury Case Against Ex-Broward Schools Superintendent

Judge Dismisses Perjury Case Against Ex-Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie

The former superintendent of Broward County Public Schools, accused of lying to a grand jury investigating the 2018 Parkland high school shooting, was cleared of perjury charges on Tuesday.

It was alleged that Robert Runcie mismanaged a $1 billion bond issue that passed four years before the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.

Grand jurors charged Runcie and members of the school board with making “uninformed or even misinformed decisions, incompetent management, and lack of meaningful oversight” during the bond’s execution in their final report.

Runcie’s 2021 grand jury indictment was rejected by Circuit Judge Martin Fein, who concurred with the defense team that only crimes occurring across multiple counties qualified for the grand jury’s authority under state law. Runcie only gave one testimony.

According to his lawyers, the Broward County grand jury or the local state attorney’s office should have been consulted if the state grand jury had evidence of Runcie lying.

A judge dismissed the prosecution’s claim that the grand jury could indict for crimes involving the jury’s “sanctity and integrity,” saying that the claim lacked legal support.

“I think the judge did the intellectually correct thing, which sometimes against a political backdrop takes a bit of courage,” Runcie attorney Mike Dutko told the newspaper.

Despite the maximum prison sentence for perjury being five years, it is unlikely Runcie would have faced such a punishment if convicted.

According to the office of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, prosecutors are reviewing the decision and will likely appeal it.

In his testimony before the grand jury, Runcie was accused of repeatedly lying about the criminal case against Tony Hunter, his former chief of technology.

In 2021, the grand jury indicted Hunter on suspicion of rigging a bond issue contract by accepting a bribe from a vendor. The bribery charge persists even if the claim of bid manipulation was later dismissed.

According to the prosecution, Runcie told the grand jury that he had yet to speak to anyone about the Hunter case and that he was only aware of the contract through a presentation he had attended years ago. In reality, the prosecution claimed, he had had contact with others regarding the transaction just days before his testimony.

Shortly after the indictment, Runcie, 61, and the Broward school board arranged his departure and a $740,000 severance payout.

With more than 260,000 students, Broward is the sixth-largest school district in the nation.

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