Parkland shooter judge is disqualified from a death penalty case

April 15, 2023
Robert Ayers

The Washington Examiner reports that the judge who oversaw the Parkland shooter case has just been disqualified from a separate death penalty case for inappropriate behavior that she exhibited during the Parkland shooter case. 

That judge is Broward County Judge Elizabeth Scherer.


Scherer has been the presiding judge in the case that the state of Florida brought against Nikolas Cruz, the man who, in February 2018, carried out a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. That shooting left 17 people dead, making it one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history.

Cruz has since pled guilty to the murders. But, he managed to escape the death penalty, since the jury failed to unanimously vote for such a punishment as required by law.

Instead, Scherer has sentenced Cruz to life without the possibility of parole.

The other case

Scherer is also involved in the case of Randy Tundidor, a man who has been convicted of slaying his landlord back in 2019.

Unlike the Cruz case, Tundidor has been sentenced to death.

There are still post-conviction proceedings taking place. And, recently, Tundidor and his legal team asked the Florida Supreme Court to remove Scherer from his case for alleged inappropriate behavior that she exhibited during the Cruz case.

The Florida Supreme Court has now granted this request, voting unanimously to remove Scherer from the remainder of the Tundidor case.

The alleged misbehavior

In its decision, the Florida Supreme Court details Scherer's problematic behavior. The decision states, "immediately after sentencing [of Cruz], Judge Scherer left the bench and, while still in her judicial robe, exchanged hugs with the victims' families and members of the prosecution team."

One of the problems with this is that one of the prosecutors in the Cruz case is also a prosecutor in the Tundidor case, and it is a basic rule of judicial ethics that judges are not to show bias.

"Scherer showed a sympathy with the State that would cause a reasonable person to fear not receiving a fair and impartial proceeding," the Florida Supreme Court wrote.

Several other questionable instances of Scherer's behavior are also mentioned in the opinion. It was also found, for example, that she "engaged in heated exchanges with Cruz's defense team, during which she accused a member of threatening her children and told two members to ‘go sit down.'"

It is unclear whether Scherer will face any further discipline, in addition to the disqualification.

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