Judge Declares People Impacted by Florida Shooting Can Testify in Trial

Judge Declares People Impacted by Florida Shooting Can Testify in Trial

(RepublicanPress.org) – On October 20, Nikolas Cruz pleaded guilty to all charges related to his 2018 murderous rampage that left 17 dead and 17 wounded at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Legal experts say Cruz’s public defenders orchestrated the move to spare his life. Most recently, they attempted to block testimony from victims’ family members at his sentencing trial next year. However, the judge overseeing his trial disagreed.

The defense argued that allowing “overly emotional displays” by family members could taint the objectivity of jurors tasked to decide whether Cruz faces life imprisonment or the death penalty. Prosecutors refuted that notion, telling Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer that parents agreed to write their statements ahead of time and stick to the scripted words while testifying at Cruz’s sentencing hearing.

Prosecutors told the judge the defense would have adequate time ahead of the hearing to review the statements. If the defense had an issue with the wording or expressed emotion of any of them, they could take it up with the court ahead of time.

It comes as no great surprise that Cruz’s lawyers have an opinion about emotional displays considering their client’s performance while pleading guilty earlier this year. He took the witness stand, only to give a rambling discourse about how the world would be a better place if everyone would just quit smoking pot. He also complained about not being allowed to watch television. The only thing missing was a display of any genuine remorse, an omission that outraged many of the victims’ families.

On Monday, December 13, Judge Scherer formally sided with prosecutors. The court scheduled Cruz’s sentencing hearing for January 2022, where he faces two possible sentences. Depending on the jury’s verdict, Cruz could receive either the death penalty or a life sentence without parole.

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