Judge Rebuffs Calls To Step Down in Parkland Shooter Case
(DailyVantage.com) – Nikolas Cruz walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day 2018 and opened fire, killing 17 people and injuring 17 more. The gunman has subsequently pleaded guilty to the charges against him, and now, he’s on trial to determine whether he’ll face the death penalty. Recently the defense sought to remove the judge in the case, but she rebuffed the attempt, refusing to step down.
On Friday, September 16, the Broward Public Defender’s Office filed a motion claiming Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer showed bias against Cruz, prejudicing the jurors against him. Further, they claim the jurist has a history of animosity toward one of the defense team attorneys, Melisa McNeill. Scherer denied the motion, calling it legally insufficient.
Judge overseeing the penalty trial of the Parkland school shooter refuses to step down, rejecting a motion by his attorneys who have accused her of being biased against their client. https://t.co/bezGOuZPxG
— NBC News (@NBCNews) September 20, 2022
The calls for Judge Scherer’s removal followed her comments to the defense team when they supposedly rested their case sooner than expected. She called the attorneys “unprofessional” when they called only 25 of the expected 80 witnesses they told the prosecution and judge they had ready. According to court documents filed the week of September 12, this comment, among others, exemplified “the zenith of the cumulative disdain” Scherer had allegedly exhibited throughout the trial. The issue reportedly turned into a shouting match in the court.
Experts say the defense never expected Scherer to step down, but attorneys needed to document the decision for an appeals trial in case Cruz receives the death penalty. The court would have declared a mistrial had the jurist agreed to step down, and the new judge would have needed months to prepare for the case. The sentencing phase of the trial will resume on September 27.
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