Nikolas Cruz's Education Records To Be Made Public, Judge Rules

Aug 6, 2018
Originally published on August 5, 2018 8:34 pm

A circuit judge ruled Friday that the Parkland school shooter’s education records should be made public.

Lawyers for 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz had attempted to block the release of the records, saying that making them public violated Cruz’s privacy rights and could affect his right to a fair trial.

Cruz’s attorney, Special Assistant Public Defender David Frankel, said releasing this report was only “self-serving” to the school district. 

“There is a danger in releasing this report at all,” Frankel said. “It’s a whitewash - it is a disservice to the public to be able to put it out there, and it’s intended only to absolve the school board from its responsibilities.”

But Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer, who is handling Cruz’s criminal case, denied the defense’s motion. 

To protect Cruz’s privacy rights relating to some of his educational and medical records, the school district recommended portions of a report be censured, or redacted. Some 27 pages of the report are currently blacked out.

“I do find that there’s nothing in the redacted report that would pose any threat to the administration of justice or the right to a fair trial,” Scherer said.

Previously civil court judge Patti Englander Henning ruled the report should be released, but her order was held until Cruz’s defense team could argue in front of Scherer.

Cruz faces the death penalty for the murder of 17 people and wounding of 17 others during a massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on Feb. 14

Lawyer Dana McElroy, who represents the media, said the public is entitled to the public records under the Florida Constitution.

“Any kind of closure preventing release of the school board’s report that addresses safety concerns, recommendations, does the kind of analysis that furthers a public debate, should not be withheld,” McElroy argued.

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