October 4, 2022
Defense in Florida school shooter case seeks removal of judge

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP) — Attorney for the Florida School Shooter Nicolas Cruz asked the judge in his murder case to recuse himself on Friday, two days after he scolded him when he suddenly rested His case after calling only a fraction of his expected witnesses.

The Broward public defender’s office said in a motion that Circuit Judge Elizabeth Sherer had long-held animosity toward leading defense attorney Melissa McNeil.

The motion cites Florida’s Code of Judicial Ethics which states that a judge will disqualify himself if a judge’s impartiality can reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to instances where the judge’s impartiality can be reasonably questioned. has a personal bias or prejudice relating to a party or the party’s counsel. Defense lawyers said Sherer’s repeated unwarranted and unwarranted attacks on defense attorneys undermine public confidence in the judicial system and that Cruz also fears he will not get a fair trial.

Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nicolas Cruz is seen after the defense team announced the rest of his case during the penalty phase of the trial Thursday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nicolas Cruz is seen after the defense team announced the rest of his case during the penalty phase of the trial Thursday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Prosecutors said in a response that Sherer had been respectful of both sides.

Cruz’s lawyers told the judge and prosecutors they would call 80 witnesses, but surprisingly relaxed early Wednesday’s court session after calling only 25 of them.

There were 11 days of defense testimony in total, with the last two spotlighting experts about how their birth mother is. excessive alcohol consumption during pregnancy It may have affected his brain development and led to the murder of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland four years ago.

Lead attorney McNeill’s abrupt announcement led to a heated exchange between him and Scherer, who called the decision “the most unfair, unprofessional way to try the case” without warning him or prosecutors.

Judge Elizabeth Scherer, seen on Monday, scolded Nicolas Cruz's defense team last week when he abruptly put his case to rest, calling only a fraction of his expected witnesses.
Judge Elizabeth Scherer, seen on Monday, scolded Nicolas Cruz’s defense team last week when he abruptly put his case to rest, calling only a fraction of his expected witnesses.

Sun Sentinel via Getty Images

The 12-member jury and 10 alternate members were not present, but lined up outside the courtroom to enter. The sudden announcement also meant that prosecutors were unwilling to launch their rebuttal case.

Scherer then accused Cruise’s lawyers of being inconsistent with all involved, but especially the jurors, of ruining his trip to court.

cruise, 23, convicted last October For the murders of 14 Stoneman Douglas students and three staff members on February 14, 2018. His trial, now ending its second month, is only to determine whether he is to be sentenced to death or life without parole. For the death penalty, the jury must be unanimous.

After his lawyers rested, Cruz told Scherer that he agreed with the decision.

Prosecutors said they would need more than a week to prepare their rebuttal case. The trial is now tentatively scheduled to resume on 27 September and end the week of 10 October.

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