The Florida judge who presided over the six-month long penalty phase trial for Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz was chastised after a judicial review of her trial conduct.

Judge Elizabeth Scherer was publicly reprimanded by the Florida Supreme Court after determining Scherer demonstrated bias toward the prosecution, compromising fairness and decorum of the proceedings.

The reprimand was a unanimous decision by the court, which adopted the Judicial Qualifications Commission’s recommendation.

The Commission called Scherer’s actions “inappropriate behavior.”

“[Scherer] admits that her conduct fell below what is reasonably expected of a trial judge and had the potential to damage the perception of the judiciary and our system of justice in ways that cannot be easily cured,” the commission concluded.

Scherer, who retired from the bench last month, hugged prosecutors after the trial’s conclusion, according to a Fox News report.

Commission members further found Scherer had “unduly chastised” defense team lawyers, even wrongly accusing one of Cruz’s attorneys of “threatening her children.”

The controversial trial that garnered intense worldwide attention was her first death penalty matter.

Cruz, the Parkland school shooter, admitted his guilt for the 2018 massacre that killed 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.


Scherer faced criticism for failing to uphold the standards of due process and impartiality expected of her role, despite the trial’s high-profile nature and the emotional burden it carried, CBS News reported.

Observations of her conduct, including an embrace shared with members of the prosecution and victims’ families following Cruz’s sentencing, raised questions about her neutrality.

Even in high-stakes and emotionally charged trials, the judiciary’s responsibility is to uphold the principles of fairness, decorum and due process. Bias or favoritism has no place in the American justice system.

The former judge’s actions led to her removal from another case involving a death-row inmate’s post-conviction motions. She retired from the bench last month, according to a report from the New York Post.

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