Court summons 11 prospective jurors in Nikolas Cruz death penalty trial

Judge Elizabeth Scherer speaks with Assistant State Attorney Carolyn McCann, left, and Assistant Public Defender Tamara Curtis during a sidebar discussion prior to jury pre-selection in the penalty phase of the trial of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale on Monday, April 25, 2022. Cruz previously plead guilty to all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings. (Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP, Pool) (Amy Beth Bennett, © South Florida Sun Sentinel 2022)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Jury selection in the death penalty case against Nikolas Cruz will continue on Monday with the return of 11 Broward County residents who had been dismissed from jury duty earlier this month.

The Broward County Clerk of Courts issued the summons for the group on April 28th and warned that a failure to appear could result in contempt of court, Local 10 News Reporter Christina Vazquez reported Friday

Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer dismissed the 11 prospective jurors on April 5th. She asked them if they could follow the law and they answered in the negative. Her decision prompted attorneys’ requests.

Cruz’s defense told Scherer they wanted to question the 11 she had dismissed. The prosecution later said the dismissal was “an error” and she needed to restart jury selection. Scherer granted the prosecution’s request on April 25th and continued screening jurors. But after hearing the defense’s argument on April 27th, she reversed her decision.

“My ruling was premature. I am going to dismiss the state’s motion as premature. I am going to bring those 11 individuals back for the purpose of asking them whether they have a hardship in serving and we will take it from there,” Scherer said in court.

Scherer’s goal is to find 12 jurors and 8 alternate jurors who are able to serve until September. The jurors will have to decide if Cruz should be executed for the 2018 Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. If their vote is not unanimous, Scherer will then sentence Cruz to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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TRACKING JURY SELECTION

First two weeks: April 4 | April 5 | April 6 | April 7-8 | April 9 | April 10 | April 11 | April 12 | April 13 | April 14 | April 15 | April 18 | April 19 | April 25

  • 243 prospective jurors said they didn’t have hardships
  • Scherer dismissed 11 potential jurors on April 5

Three days: April 25 | April 26 | April 27

  • 155 prospective jurors said they didn’t have hardships

May 2nd plan

  • The first 40 of the 243 prospective jurors to return for the second round of jury selection
  • Attorneys will get to question the 11 prospective jurors who were dismissed on April 5th about hardships.

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About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.