Texas Tech University football player Da'Leon Ward has had a busy few days. The talented running back was taken into custody on felony theft charges on Aug. 21 in connection with a campus investigation into stolen cellphones, but his situation improved significantly the following day when the Lubbock County District Attorney's Office announced that the charges had been dismissed and no further action was planned. In their motion to dismiss, prosecutors said that proceeding further in the case would not serve the interests of justice.
A warrant was issued for Ward's arrest after a Lubbock Country grand jury returned an indictment against him in June. The star athlete was accused of stealing cellphones from the university's Student Recreation Center. Ward is said to have become a person of interest in the case when one of the victims told police that Ward had contacted him to return the stolen phones. He claims that Ward told him that one of his friends had taken the phones.
Prosecutors were unconvinced by this and other evidence gathered by campus police. They determined that one of Ward's friends, who had used his college ID to gain admission to the recreation center, was the true culprit. However, even the evidence implicating Ward's friend was not sufficient to support a criminal indictment according to the district attorney.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may advise their clients to not worry too much about grand jury indictments. Grand juries are only asked to decide whether or not the evidence presented warrants further action, and they are primarily designed to prevent incompetent or malicious prosecutions. District attorneys tend to take a more pragmatic approach, and they may agree to dismiss cases when the evidence is unconvincing even after grand juries have returned indictments.
Source: NBC Sports, "Felony theft charge dismissed against Texas Tech RB Da'Leon Ward", John Taylor, Aug. 22, 2018