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Politics

'Whitewashed' School Report on Parkland Shooter Will Go Public

August 3, 2018 - 5:30pm
Judge Elizabeth Scherer
Judge Elizabeth Scherer

There may be nothing "independent" about the Broward school district's report on Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz, but a Broward circuit judge ruled Friday the public has a right to see it anyway.

Judge Elizabeth Scherer would have no part of Cruz's defense attorneys, who scoffed at the Cruz report saying it would hinder their client's right to a fair trial.

The report is a put-up job, they argued -- it's all suspicious -- because it was based on a consultant's review of Cruz's school records. The consultant was hired by the Broward school district. 

David Frankel, one of Cruz's defense attorneys, told the judge, "It's a whitewash." He insisted the report was commissioned by the school district "to absolve it of responsibility for how it handled Cruz’s complex psychological problems."

Scherer disagreed. She did note "the report is heavily blacked out -- about 27 pages that deal with the specific details of Cruz’s school records are concealed at the school district’s request." But she said, "I do find that there is nothing in the redacted report that poses a threat to the administration of justice and the defendant’s right to a fair trial.”

Nikolas Cruz in court
Nikolas Cruz in court

Exactly when the report will be released was not clear at press time.

It wasn't the first time defense attorneys noted irregularities in the case. One of the defense lawyers blasted the State Attorney’s Office after it emerged that a few of its staffers attended a potluck arranged by members of the grand jury that indicted Cruz. The grand jury met between January and June on a host of cases, and finished its service three weeks before the potluck.

Prosecutors said no state funds were used at the event. “After a grand jury has finished their term and they have been discharged from service, there is nothing inappropriate with former grand jurors inviting staff members from our office to a potluck picnic,” according to an email from the State Attorney’s Office and reported by Broward’s J.A.A.B. Blog.

The defense team said it will not appeal Scherer's Friday ruling, according to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

Cruz, 19, appeared in court as he always does, amid tight security, head cast down, in handcuffs and leg irons and wearing the uniform of a maximum-security inmate. He did not speak publicly, talked only with his attorneys.

What Cruz's lawyers really wanted, said the Sun-sentinel, was for the judge to bar release of the report because it would "make it difficult to find an impartial jury if the case goes to trial on charges he murdered 17 people and wounded 17 others on Feb. 14."

The School Board-hired consultant was Collaborative Educational Network of Tallahassee. It was their job to examine how district officials handled Cruz's education and the support services the district provided him. "The report is expected to identify any problems and recommend improvements the school district should make," according to the newspaper.

Defense attorneys find it suspicious that the district recommended portions of the report be blacked out to comply with Cruz’s privacy rights under federal and state laws.

A civil court judge ruled last week the altered report should be released, but her order was placed on hold until the criminal trial judge heard arguments from the defense team.

Attorneys for the South Florida Sun Sentinel and other media outlets filed court documents arguing "the report is a taxpayer-funded public record that should not be hidden from view." And Judge Scherer agreed.

Before the Valentine's Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Cruz had a long history of fights, threats toward students and a bizarre fixation on weapons and Nazi imagery.

No date has been set for the trial.

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith

Comments

Why does the P.O.S. even have "defense attorneys"? Give him the needle ... or lock him up in solitary and throw the key away!

And here we thought it was "all over" when we "washed the 'MEDIA debacle' of O.J. Simpson" out of our memories... (The "24 Hour News Cycle" has corrupted our entire Nation,..... "WOE be unto US; what is right has passed from us, and we are rebuked.. !"

So we are gonna make some "whitewashed" BS public. Pardon me if I don't give a crap!!!

Is the Sheriff ever going to be fired? It is impossible to understand how this man is still in office...

The true defendants should be 'Sheriff' Israel and the complicit school administration for allowing Barry's 'PROMISE' program to be implemented which enabled this demented ass*ole to continue terrorizing students year after year without consequence. The liberal 'PROMISE' program was designed to accommodate 'students of color' by dismissing their disruptive and often violent behavior as some social malady. Thus, the remaining well behaved students have to endure this environment while attempting to get an education. The student victims all paid with their lives for a failed, race-based program.

Correctamundo!

Let's look at the unredacted report, in order to bring justice to this community.

Yes, UNredacted, please. After 17 killed, the public has a right to know all details.

Yes, UNredacted, please. After 17 killed, the public has a right to know all details.

Why is there trial? His guilt is self-evident, no one cares especially the families of the victims, why he murdered all those people. They should just skip to sentencing.

Perhaps you have forgotten--or choose to ignore--the 14th Amendment: DUE PROCESS OF LAW

"Toss a rope over that thar tree boys."

I volunteer. Hang him by his nutz and let the fathers Give him a little “due process” with a baseball bat. He has no rights, you Spineless Liberal jirkoff.

Nothing can change what this young man did. No change of venue will make a difference for him. The worst thing is that the families are suffering more injustice than they have already suffered. What I really want to know is 1) what is being done about the idiot sheriff? 2) what's being done about those cowards with guns who hid behind a wall and lied about why they did it? 3) what good did it do for Florida's governor to put a *** in the armor of the second amendment instead of turning the really big guns from Tallahassee on that whole school district and demand accountability? Cruz will have to live with what he has done, and he is young, so he will have a very long time to live with it. That won't bring back the precious lives or those so deeply wounded, but we have to go forward keeping them in our prayers.

What good does it do? The entire event was a Mossad operation and like the JFK murder to Las Vegas we won't get the truth. These folks will answer to God.

Barb, how bout a lithium smoothie?

Leave it to lawyers to screw up and pervert justice... Move the Cruz trial to the Dakota's or Wisconsin or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan so Cruz will get a trial with an untainted jury (as the Cruz lawyers whine about); Let Cruz serve his sentence time in "BRISK WEATHER" for a "life change" for him...

They usually don't move a trial until it is found that no jury can be impannelled in the county in which the event took place....and then it has to be within Florida. If you recall Zimmerman, they imported a jury from another county.

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