Broward County

Judge orders Nikolas Cruz’s statement to BSO to be redacted and released to the public

Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer asks questions of Special Assistant Public Defender David Frankel, left,  and Assistant State Attorney Steven Klinger during a court hearing on June 8. Scherer on Thursday ordered the release of carefully redacted statements Parkland gunman Nikolas Cruz made to police following the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer asks questions of Special Assistant Public Defender David Frankel, left, and Assistant State Attorney Steven Klinger during a court hearing on June 8. Scherer on Thursday ordered the release of carefully redacted statements Parkland gunman Nikolas Cruz made to police following the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Sun Sentinel

A judge on Thursday ordered the release of carefully redacted statements that self-confessed Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz made to law enforcement on camera following the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

In an order filed in Broward County Circuit Court, Judge Elizabeth Anne Scherer granted Cruz’s attorneys 10 days to appeal her decision to make public some excerpts and edited footage of the statements, which under Florida law cannot contain “the substance of a confession.”

The substance of Cruz’s confession cannot be made public until his criminal case concludes, either through “adjudication, dismissal, or other final disposition,” according to Florida statutes.

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While Cruz’s public defenders have conceded their client shot and killed 17 students and faculty members at the Parkland high school, they argued in court that the release of even snippets of his statements to Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies would, due to the extreme public interest in the case, “infringe on his constitutional right to a fair trial before an impartial jury.”

Judge Scherer batted down that argument in her order, stating that Cruz’s attorneys have not effectively demonstrated how the release of the statements would taint future court proceedings.

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