Calhoun County grand jury concludes evidence of indictment does not warrant for the charge of intoxication manslaughter for Noe Paez
Relating to the death of three-year-old boy Zaelyn Gonzales
CALHOUN COUNTY, Texas – Back on August 18, 2020, three-year-old Zaelyn Gonzales lost his life in the parking lot of a Port Lavaca business. The young child loved fire trucks, tractors and cars. Gonzales had a contagious smile, never met a stranger and was beloved by all who knew him, according to family.
After a thorough review of the evidence from the Port Lavaca Police Department, along with requested information provided by the District Attorney’s Office and live witness testimony, a Calhoun County grand jury concluded that the evidence does not warrant an indictment of Noe Paez as to the charge of intoxication manslaughter.
Under the Texas Constitution, as well as the United States Constitution, the use of a grand jury is required. According to the Texas Constitution, a person cannot be tried for a felony offense unless the case is first reviewed by a grand jury to determine if an indictment is “true billed” or returned.
Grand juries include 12 qualified, impartial residents who “form a fair cross section of the population of the area served by the court.” Their main function is to evaluate evidence to determine whether or not a person should be formally accused of a crime. Secrecy is a significant element to the free and fair deliberations of a grand jury and protects grand jurors and witnesses from outside influence and pressure.
The District Attorney’s Office respects the efforts of the grand jury on this difficult case. Disclosure of proceedings, including the names of any witnesses who testified, the documents they subpoenaed and any speculation into why the grand jury chose to no bill Noe Paez, is prohibited by Texas law.
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