Parkland school shooting judge erupts at defence team: ‘It’s unbelievable’

Parkland school shooting judge erupts at defence team: ‘It’s unbelievable’


The decide of the high-profile trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty mass shooter Nikolas Cruz has unleashed on the defence workforce after it abruptly rested its case.

Choose Elizabeth Scherer gave an almighty spray after the bombshell transfer derailed proceedings.

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“Truthfully, I’ve by no means skilled this stage of unprofessionalism in my profession. It’s unbelievable,” she mentioned to Cruz’s legal professionals in Broward County Courtroom, Florida, on Wednesday, in an alternate that was broadcast reside on YouTube.

The defence workforce had beforehand said it could name about 80 witnesses within the listening to which centred on whether or not the mass assassin would obtain life in jail quite than the demise penalty.

Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people and injured 17 others when he opened fireplace on college students and employees at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty in Parkland, Florida in 2018. It’s the deadliest highschool taking pictures in US historical past.

Cruz pleaded guilty to all charges on October 21, 2021. His sentencing has been delayed a number of occasions and the trial about whether or not he ought to obtain a demise penalty began on July 18 this yr.

Cruz’s authorized workforce had beforehand outlined a broad defence which might centre on his upbringing, psychological well being points and failures within the police and schooling system, the Miami Herald stories.

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However the authorized workforce abruptly rested its case on Wednesday, weeks sooner than anticipated. As an alternative it centred its technique on heavy consuming by Cruz’s mom whereas he was within the womb – stating it “poisoned” his mind. The legal professionals concluded the defence after calling simply 26 witnesses over 11 days.

The prosecution was caught off-guard by the transfer and was not capable of proceed on the day, delaying the case even additional.

“We had been ready for 40 extra witnesses,” lead prosecutor Mike Satz mentioned.

Choose Scherer wasn’t impressed by the sudden change, stating “one other day” has been “wasted”.

“We’re not enjoying chess,” she mentioned.

“That is essentially the most uncalled for, unprofessional solution to strive a case.

“Even should you didn’t make your determination till this morning, to have 22 folks, plus the entire employees and each legal professional, march into courtroom and be ready as if it’s some type of sport … now I’ve to ship them residence,” she mentioned.

“The state’s not prepared, they’re not going to have a witness prepared. We have now one other day wasted.

“I’ve by no means skilled this stage of unprofessionalism in my profession. It’s unbelievable.”

Lead defence lawyer Melisa McNeill responded by saying she had been practising within the space for 22 years.

“You’re insulting me on the document in entrance of my shopper, and I consider that I ought to be capable to defend myself,” she mentioned.

However Choose Scherer minimize her off.

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“You’ve been insulting me all the trial, blatantly,” the decide mentioned. “Taking your headphones off, arguing with me, storming out, coming late deliberately should you don’t like my rulings. So, fairly frankly, this has been lengthy overdue.”

The alternate sparked a heated alternate on social media, with many supporting the decide’s outburst.

Fred Guttenberg, the daddy of taking pictures sufferer Jaime Guttenberg, wrote on Twitter: “I’m in full shock. That’s all I’ll say concerning the trial right now. As soon as the jury renders its verdict, I’ll have a lot to say.”

“The decide has gone means past what’s required to permit the defence to current their case,” one other particular person wrote on Twitter. “Defence counsel deserved this dressing down. Losing the courtroom’s time is inexcusable.”

Nevertheless South Florida defence lawyer David Weinstein, who has been watching the case intently, mentioned it was probably the technique was about limiting cross-examination of extra defence witnesses, and additional state rebuttal proof.

“So ultimately, evidently the foetal alcohol syndrome and his juvenile years can be their major mitigating circumstance,” Mr Weinstein instructed the Miami Herald.

“This has all the time been an uphill battle for the defence, so no matter benefit they assume that they will get, they’ll use it.”

Retired Miami-Dade senior murder prosecutor Gail Levine instructed the Miami Herald the choice was cheap, and possibly spurred by studying the physique language of the jury.

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