FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Attorneys representing confessed Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz continue to ask the Broward County court for more time to prepare for his trial in January.
The Public Defender’s Office is asking for more time to effectively prepare and try Cruz’s case, and they have accused the judge of rushing it for personal and political reasons, calling the timeframe unreasonable.
Cruz, whose trial is scheduled to be held at the end of January, appeared in court Tuesday, when the Public Defender’s Office claimed that the preparation time for the upcoming trial was significantly shorter than even the typical capital felony case.
They have cited more than four million pages of discovery because the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was investigated by multiple agencies at local, state and federal levels.
The Public Defender’s Office said that each member of its staff would’ve had to start reading 1,663 pages a day, seven days a week to get it done in the past year since the shooting occurred.
They have also cited more than a thousand listed witnesses they can’t depose until January, thousands of photographs, hundreds of videos, phone and computer data from the Feb. 14, 2018 school massacre.
Cruz’s defense attorneys are asking for a continuance, filing a 46-page motion.
Defense attorneys claimed that Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer is rushing through the case for personal and political reasons, citing the case has received “unprecedented media attention,” and she’s up for reelection in 2020. She received the motion Monday.
“I don’t know. Quite frankly, that was yesterday, and I haven’t read through the 40-something pages,” Scherer said.
According to the motion, Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz is Scherer’s former boss and mentor, and he is retiring in 2020. The document said Satz “is urging this court to push the case to trial in order to end his 44-year career with a conviction and death penalty verdict on one of the most notorious defendants in Broward County.”
Cruz’s defense team warned that rushing the case will likely be cause for a retrial, and families of Stoneman Douglas students will have to relive the nightmare of the mass shooting all over again.
They also stated Cruz hasn’t had mental health professionals examine him to determine his competency to stand in his own trial yet.
The trial was supposed to begin Jan. 27, but they’ve pushed the continuance motion back to Dec. 19 to discuss and determine whether to delay the trial date.
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