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Judge in Parkland school shooter case to step down from the bench

As Court TV first reported, Parkland shooter trial Judge Elizabeth Scherer said in an exclusively obtained letter that she plans to step down.
Judge in Parkland school shooter case to step down from the bench
Posted at 5:09 PM, May 10, 2023

The Florida judge who presided over the Parkland school shooter’s trial is leaving the bench, Court TV has learned.

Judge Elizabeth Scherer of Florida's 17th Judicial Circuit submitted a letter of resignation to Gov. Ron DeSantis' office Wednesday afternoon, effective June 30. Judge Elizabeth Scherer of Florida's 17th Judicial Circuit submitted a letter of resignation to Gov. Ron DeSantis' office Wednesday afternoon effective June 30. 

"It has been a privilege to serve the people of the State of Florida as a member of the judiciary for over 10 years," Scherer said in the letter, which Court TV exclusively obtained.

Scherer faced criticism for her handling of Nikolas Cruz’s penalty phase, which ended with jurors recommending Cruz be sentenced to life in prison. 

Scherer formally sentenced Cruz to 34 consecutive life sentences on Nov. 2, 2022. 

In a statement announcing her resignation, 17th Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Jack Tutor commended her service:

“During her service, Judge Scherer handled one of the most challenging cases in Broward County’s history. She did so in a professional and dignified manner. On behalf of the 17th Circuit, we wish Judge Scherer good health and prosperity in her future endeavors.”

Scherer came under fire for hugging members of the prosecution team in the courtroom after the verdict. 

Court staff told Court TV that she offered to hug members of the defense team and they declined. Last month, the Florida Supreme Court removed her from another death penalty case based on arguments that she showed bias toward prosecutors in the Parkland case.

Scherer told Court TV that her resignation is unrelated to the backlash over the Parkland case. She said she decided long before the Parkland trial began that she would resign at its conclusion. 

In his statement, the chief judge also said that Scherer approached him "last year to advise she would soon be leaving the bench."

"This was not my forever job," Scherer told Court TV earlier this year. "I have always intended to pursue other career opportunities."

This story was originally published by Court TV's Emanuella Grinberg, reporting from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 

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