Attorney says punishing Parkland school shooter's brother is unconstitutional
Zachary Cruz's lawyer questions judge's approach to misdemeanor charge
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Defense attorneys asked the Broward County court Thursday to release Zachary Cruz on the $25 bond previously posted and to get rid of some of the pre-trial restrictions placed on him after he was accused of trespassing at the school where his brother fatally wounded 17 people.
Zachary Cruz, who is the adoptive younger brother of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz, was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation after he was arrested Monday on a misdemeanor trespassing charge.
Attorney Joseph Kimok filed the motion after Broward County Judge Jack Tuter issued an order preventing Zachary Cruz from possessing or buying weapons and raised the usual $25 bond that the misdemeanor charge carries to $500,000.
"There is no justice where the government seeks to hang a man for the crimes of his brother," Kimok wrote. "lt is immoral and reprehensible to attempt to punish Zachary Cruz for the sins of Nicholas. It is also unconstitutional."
Tuter issued the order under the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which Gov. Rick Scott signed into law March 9. The new law empowers law enforcement agencies to take more preventive measures and prevents firearm dealers from selling firearms to buyers younger than 21 years of age.
Zachary Cruz was also ordered not to have contact with his brother, students or staff from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and to stay at least a mile away from the school.
"Up until four months ago [Zachary Cruz] had led a relatively normal life. He went to school. He hung out with friends. He skateboarded. He spent time with the only family he knew -- his mother and brother," Kimok wrote.
Then, in November, his mother died, and in February his brother "committed an unspeakable crime," he wrote, adding that overnight "Zachary's entire life was put under a microscope."
Kimok said such an experience would be overwhelming for anyone, and yet Zachary Cruz, who was also ordered to wear an ankle monitor, never hurt himself, anyone else or threatened anyone.
"He coped, as best he could," Kimok wrote. "Zachary Cruz did not bring any of this upon himself."
Tuter's order on the weapons ban is temporary, and there will be a final risk protection order hearing April 3 to discuss its permanency.
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