Parkland shooting judge reverses decision to restart jury selection

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The justice overseeing the punishment proceedings of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz reversed herself Wednesday and said she is not dismissing much than 200 imaginable jurors who survived a archetypal circular of screening earlier this month.

In the latest confusing crook since assemblage enactment began 3 weeks ago, Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer overturned her Monday determination to commencement assemblage enactment anew due to the fact that of a imaginable mistake she made. She had said past that she would propulsion retired 243 imaginable jurors who said they could service from June to September, the expected magnitude of the trial.

Now, she said, she volition bid 11 imaginable jurors she dismissed connected April 5 without questioning to beryllium brought backmost to tribunal this Monday to beryllium queried by the attorneys. Referring to the 243 imaginable jurors that had faced dismissal, she said, the archetypal 40 would present beryllium brought backmost for the commencement of the 2nd round.

The determination near attorneys from some sides confused, including the pb authoritative Mike Satz, who served arsenic the Broward County authorities lawyer for 44 years earlier leaving bureau past year. He is present moving for his successor connected a peculiar duty to pb the Cruz prosecution team. At 1 constituent Satz interrupted Scherer to inquire her what precisely her program was.

Scherer has been a justice for 10 years, but is overseeing her archetypal decease punishment case. She was appointed soon aft Cruz, 23, murdered 17 radical astatine Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School connected February 14, 2018. She was selected utilizing the random method utilized successful Florida.

Parkland shooter's attorneys privation  justice  to region   them Broward County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer listens to grounds during a proceeding for Parkland schoolhouse shooting fishy Nikolas Cruz astatine the Broward Courthouse successful Fort Lauderdale, Fla. connected Wednesday, May 1, 2019. Sun Sentinel

Cruz pleaded guilty successful October. Scherer, the prosecutors and defence attorneys are picking 12 jurors and 8 alternates successful a three-step process. Those selected volition determine if the erstwhile Stoneman Douglas pupil is sentenced to decease oregon beingness successful situation without parole.

The contented astatine the halfway of the quality arose April 5, the 2nd time of assemblage selection, implicit Scherer's handling of a radical of 60 imaginable jurors. It was the 5th specified sheet to look successful court.

With each different group, Scherer lone asked if the imaginable jurors had immoderate hardships that would marque it intolerable for them to service from June done September. Those who accidental they could service are being told to instrumentality adjacent period for further questioning.

With the 5th group, however, Scherer asked if immoderate would not travel the instrumentality if chosen — a question that wasn't expected to beryllium asked until the 2nd oregon 3rd phase. Twelve hands went up.

Scherer dismissed them without further questioning, drafting an objection from some prosecutors and Cruz's attorneys. They wanted to marque definite they were not simply trying to debar assemblage service. Florida assemblage candidates are ever questioned earlier dismissal.

Scherer tried to person the jurors returned, but each but 1 had near the courthouse. She said the Broward County Sheriff's Office would present summonses to the different 11 to travel backmost to tribunal this past Monday, but that was not done for unexplained reasons.

US-NEWS-PARKLAND-1ST-LEDE-3-FL Assistant Public Defender Melisa McNeill speaks with Assistant State Attorneys Mike Satz, left, and Jeff Marcus anterior to the commencement of assemblage pre-selection successful the punishment signifier of the proceedings of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz astatine the Broward County Courthouse successful Fort Lauderdale connected Monday. Sun Sentinel

She primitively said they would beryllium told to instrumentality adjacent week, but prosecutors convinced her implicit defence objections to commencement the process anew and disregard each 243 jurors who had been selected to that point. The prosecution argued that Scherer's mistake was truthful large that if Cruz gets a decease sentence, an appellate tribunal could overturn it and bid a retrial. The defence wanted her to suspend proceedings until the 11 could beryllium brought successful adjacent week.

That led the defence to record a question Wednesday alleging that Cruz's law rights to owed process and against treble jeopardy had been violated. They accused Scherer and prosecutors of acting successful "bad faith" and wanted her to instantly condemnation Cruz to life, throwing retired the decease penalty. Prosecutors angrily called that accusation "baseless."

Scherer called the defense's question "a stretch" and dismissed it, but that's erstwhile she reversed herself.

Scherer past told some sides to enactment unneurotic implicit the adjacent fewer days to devise however they privation to proceed starting Monday. It remained unclear what volition hap with 155 jurors who passed the archetypal circular this week and whether they volition beryllium brought backmost adjacent month. If they are inactive successful play, that would springiness the lawyers a excavation of astir 400 to winnow through.

The jurors yet selected volition determine whether aggravating factors — the aggregate deaths, Cruz's readying and his cruelty — outweigh mitigating factors specified arsenic the defendant's lifelong intelligence and affectional problems, imaginable intersexual maltreatment and the decease of his parents.

For Cruz to person the decease penalty, the assemblage indispensable ballot unanimously for that option. If 1 oregon much jurors ballot against it, helium volition beryllium sentenced to beingness without parole.

In: Parkland School Shooting Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School