Court: Florida shooting defendant can’t shield expert names
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A ruling from the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday means school shooting defendant Nikolas Cruz cannot shield from public disclosure the names of expert witnesses who have interviewed him in jail.
The court declined to review an earlier decision by the 4th District Court of Appeal that the names of mental health providers who met with Cruz in jail must be public. Cruz’s lawyers had argued that disclosure of the identities would threaten his right to a fair trial.
Broward County prosecutors and news outlets opposed shielding the names under state public records laws.
“The constitution and the public records act do not authorize redacting the names of the experts visiting petitioner in jail,” the appeals court ruled.
Cruz, 21, is charged with killing 17 people and wounding 17 others in the Valentine’s Day 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. His attorneys have said he will plead guilty in return for a life prison sentence, but prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
A trial date has not been set. The next hearing in the case is March 23.