FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami/AP) – A justice has denied a question by lawyers for confessed Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz that sought to presumption grounds and grounds presented to the expansive assemblage that indicted him successful March 2018.
Under Florida law, those proceedings are typically secret, and Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer said she saw nary crushed to broach that.
Cruz’s attorneys had argued that it is unfair that the prosecution, which presented the lawsuit to the expansive jury, has entree to transcripts and grounds and tin usage them to impeach witnesses whose grounds changes, but they can’t.
Prosecutors argued that Cruz’s attorneys tin inquire for circumstantial transcripts if they tin amusement definite witnesses person changed their testimony, but giving them each the transcripts present would beryllium a “fishing expedition.”
Prosecutor Jeff Marcus besides argued that Cruz’s attorneys should not beryllium allowed to usage immoderate failures by his therapists, schoolhouse officials, oregon field information guards arsenic mitigating factors during the decease punishment signifier of his proceedings if helium is convicted.
For example, Marcus told Scherer, Cruz’s attorneys should not beryllium allowed to reason that his work for the deaths is lessened by the schoolhouse violating its information procedures by unlocking its gates earlier dismissal and leaving them unguarded, allowing him to sneak in. Nor should they beryllium allowed to reason that his actions are mitigated by the nonaccomplishment of immoderate students who were changeable to travel wide shooting protocols they had been taught, Marcus said.
“This is arguably third-party negligence straight related to the defendant, but it doesn’t trim his motivation culpability,” Marcus said.
Cruz lawyer Melisa McNeill said her broadside volition ne'er usage mitigating circumstances “as an excuse, arsenic a defence oregon arsenic a justification for the crimes that occurred.” But, she said, jurors indispensable cognize each the circumstances surrounding Cruz, his life, and the shootings if helium is convicted and they are asked to determine betwixt the decease punishment and beingness successful prison.
“We person this conception of mitigation due to the fact that it prevents the hazard of the decease punishment being imposed connected individuals who would beryllium qualifying for little superior oregon terrible penalty,” McNeill said.
Scherer said she would regularisation soon. She rejected Wednesday 2 different arguments from Cruz’s attorneys:
— That abstracted juries grip the guilt signifier and, if needed, the sentencing phase. Scherer said some phases are typically handled by 1 assemblage and she sees nary crushed to deviate successful this case.
— That Cruz’s attorneys beryllium allowed to destruct much than 10 prospective jurors without origin during assemblage selection. She said they volition apt beryllium allowed to destruct much erstwhile assemblage enactment is underway, but it is premature to marque that determination now.
Cruz, 22, has pleaded not blameworthy to the Feb. 14, 2018 shootings astatine Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that near 17 dormant and 17 injured. His attorneys person said helium would plead blameworthy successful speech for a beingness sentence. Prosecutors person rejected that connection and are seeking the decease penalty.
No proceedings day has been acceptable arsenic the pandemic slowed preparations. Scherer has begun holding predominant hearings to resoluteness issues that indispensable beryllium decided earlier assemblage enactment begins.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)