“I apologize if I didn’t do it the way you all wanted,” said Scherer, a judge for 10 years. Still, she said, “In what universe does it take three months for jury selection?”

 Confusion reigned as jury selection in the death penalty trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz concluded its second week with no immediate end in sight.

Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer, presiding over her first death penalty case, united prosecutors and defense attorneys in protest over her plans for concluding the lengthy process of picking the panel that will decide if Cruz is executed for killing 17 people at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day 2018.

That confusion and other issues mean opening statements in Cruz’s penalty trial, already delayed two years by the COVID-19 pandemic and legal battles, likely will move from May 31 to mid- or late June.

Scherer took the blame for the confusion late Wednesday afternoon but also expressed frustration with the attorneys. Jury selection is being conducted Mondays through Wednesdays only — with next week off — to give both sides time to depose expert witnesses expected to testify.

© Copyright LaPresse