Judge who presided over Parkland school shooting trial steps down
The Florida judge who presided over the Parkland mass shooting trial has announced that she will be resigning from the bench next month.
Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer became a national figure when she oversaw the murder trial of Nikolas Cruz last year.
Cruz received a life sentence after a jury was unable to unanimously agree on giving him the death sentence for the 2018 murder of 14 students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
After she sentenced Cruz, 24, to life without parole she notably left the bench to hug members of the prosecution and victims’ families.
That action resulted in the Florida Supreme Court removing her from overseeing post-conviction motions in the case of Randy Tundidor.
He is facing the death penalty for the 2019 slaying of his landlord.
“It has been a privilege to serve the people of the State of Florida as a member of the judiciary for over 10 years,” Judge Scherer said in her resignation letter to Florida governor Ron DeSantis, reported CourtTV.
During the televised trial of Cruz, the judge frequently clashed with lead public defender, Melisa McNeill.
When the defence team suddenly rested their case without any warning, the judge blasted them publicly in the courtroom, branding it “the most uncalled for, unprofessional way to try a case.”
Ms McNeill angrily rebuked the judge for “insulting me on the record in front of my client,” which earned her a severe dressing down.
“You’ve been insulting me the entire trial,” the judge told her. “Arguing with me, storming out, coming late intentionally if you don’t like my rulings. So, quite frankly, this has been long overdue. So please be seated.”