Parkland school shooter judge unanimously reprimanded by FL Supreme Court for behavior

Judge Elizabeth Scherer was unanimously reprimanded by the Florida Supreme Court for showing bias in favor of the prosecution during the Parkland school shooting trial.

(Video Credit: CBS Miami)

The court handed down its determination on Monday, publicly reprimanding Scherer who presided over Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz’s penalty trial, according to Fox News. She got smacked because she ostensibly “engaged in inappropriate behavior.”

The court adopted the recommendation of the 15-member Judicial Qualifications Commission that was rendered in June. The commission is composed of judges, lawyers, and citizens.

The commission admitted that “the worldwide publicity surrounding the case created stress and tension for all participants,” according to the Associated Press.

But they said that judges are expected to “ensure due process, order, and decorum, and act always with dignity and respect to promote the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary.”

The judge got smacked for hugging several prosecutors after she sentenced Cruz, 24, to life in prison. Scherer defended her actions to the state commission which investigates judicial misconduct, telling them that she also offered hugs to Cruz’s attorneys.

The commission also found that she “unduly chastised” members of the defense team. They ruled that the judge wrongly accused one of Cruz’s attorneys of “threatening her children” as well.

“[Scherer] admits that her conduct fell below what is reasonably expected of a trial judge and had the potential to damage the perception of the judiciary and our system of justice in ways that cannot be easily cured,” the commission ruled.

“In limited instances during this unique and lengthy case, Judge Scherer allowed her emotions to overcome her judgment,” the 15-member commission wrote in their ruling that was filed on June 2.

Cruz pleaded guilty to slaughtering 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, 2018. It was one of the bloodiest school shootings in United States history. Scherer gained notoriety herself for excoriating the defense over its unprofessionalism, sparring with them on live television.

The penalty trial took six months, eventually ending in a split jury over the death penalty. It was a media circus and the judge was pounded no matter what she did during the trial. Since the vote on Cruz was not unanimous, she was forced to sentence the mass murderer to life in prison last November.

The Associated Press reported, “Scherer’s handling of the case drew frequent praise from the parents and spouses of the victims, who said she treated them with professionalism and kindness. But her clashes with Cruz’s attorneys and others sometimes drew criticism from legal observers.”

Scherer, 46, retired in June with no reason given. The former Broward County circuit judge was randomly assigned to Cruz’s case and it was her first capital murder trial, according to Fox News.

In April, she was disqualified from a death-row inmate’s case due to her prior conduct at the request of his defense attorney.

That action led the Supreme Court in April to remove her from overseeing post-conviction motions of another defendant, Randy Tundidor, who was sentenced to death for murder in the 2019 killing of his landlord. One of the prosecutors, in that case, had also been on the Cruz team, and during a hearing in the Tundidor case a few days after the Cruz sentencing, Scherer asked the prosecutor how he was holding up,” the Associated Press noted.

“The court said Scherer’s actions gave at least the appearance that she could not be fair to Tundidor,” the media outlet added.

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