Attorneys for Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz have asked for the judge in his murder case to remove herself two days after she scolded them when they abruptly rested their case
The jury will determine if Nikolas Cruz will be sentenced to death for killing 17 people.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Attorneys for Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz asked for the judge in his murder case to remove herself on Friday, two days after she scolded them when they abruptly rested their case after calling only a fraction of their expected witnesses.
The Broward Public Defender’s Office said in a motion that Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer held a longstanding animosity toward lead defense lawyer Melisa McNeill.
The motion cited Florida’s Judicial Code of Conduct that states a judge shall disqualify himself or herself if the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, including but not limited to instances where the judge has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party or a party’s lawyer. Defense attorneys said Scherer’s repeated improper and unjustified attacks on the defense counsel undermine the public’s confidence in the judicial system and have also caused Cruz to fear that he will not receive a fair trial.
Prosecutors said in a response that Scherer has been respectful to both sides.
Cruz’s attorneys had told the judge and prosecutors they would be calling 80 witnesses but surprisingly rested at the start of Wednesday’s court session after calling only about 25 of them.
There were 11 days of defense testimony overall, the last two spotlighting experts about how his birth mother’s heavy use of alcohol during pregnancy might have affected his brain’s development and led to his murdering 17 people at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School four years ago.