Parkland shooter trial judge: ‘We are getting a jury this week

Legal analyst says what’s happening this week is ‘real progress’

The judge in the death-penalty case of the Parkland school shooter says she is ready for a jury to be selected.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Jury selection continues in a Broward County Courtroom in the penalty phase for Parkland School shooter Nikolas Cruz and it comes after almost a two-week break. Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer told attorneys in the courtroom, “We are getting a jury this week and motions are being heard next week.”

Scherer said that she expected, as the week continued, that proceedings were moving closer to the third and final phase of the process.

“This represents real progress in sitting the 12-person jury,” said legal analyst David Weinstein. “The nuts and bolts of both sides’ cases are on the horizon as well as closure, whatever the verdict might be, for the victims and their families.”

On Tuesday, the court continued Phase 2 — the portion of the process where both prosecutors and defense attorneys have the chance to ask potential jurors further questions about how any pre-trial publicity may impact their death penalty views.

In the first phase, questions surrounded hardships, such as the time constraints caused by a months-long trial, and how that might cause a financial hardship that could prevent potential jurors from participating in the trial.

In fact, Scherer told potential jurors on Tuesday that the trial testimony could now run through the end of October.

There has been such a gap of time since potential jurors were selected to proceed to the Phase 2 jury selection, that Scherer began asking returning jurors if anything had changed in their life circumstances that would now prevent them from being able to sit through the trial.

Phase 2 of digging and probing a bit deeper into potential jurors’ views will continue as the court works to find 12 jurors and six to eight alternates that will be deemed fair and impartial when it comes to sentencing.

The idea is not whether they have an opinion about the case of Nikolas Cruz, but whether they can put that opinion aside and listen to the evidence in the penalty phase.


About the Authors:

Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment "Call Christina."

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.