Jury selection in the death penalty trial of Parkland, Fl., school shooter Nikolas Cruz is starting over after the judge suggested her own mistake requires it, the Associated Press reports. Judge Elizabeth Scherer ruled Monday that she should have questioned potential jurors who said they would not follow the law before she dismissed them. The decision would nullify two weeks of work by lawyers for the prosecution and defense.
It's been anything but smooth since jury selection started during the first week of April. Eleven potential jurors who were dismissed that week were expected back in court Monday so that attorneys on both sides could have the chance to question them Judge Elizabeth Scherer said there was a "miscommunication."
"We're going to get them here next week," she said.
After defense attorneys raised concerns about a possible procedural misstep, Scherer said on April 6 that she would make her "best effort" to get the dismissed jurors back. Scherer initially dismissed them after they told her they couldn't follow the law if asked to decide whether Cruz should receive the death penalty. Prosecutors wanted to strike the panel of prospective jurors and start jury selection all over, but defense attorneys object to beginning again. "There's too many issues at this point," Assistant State Attorney Carolyn McCann said. "It's better to just start fresh. ... "so we have lost six days total of jury selection versus what we're going to be looking at down the road if we compound this error, which we will be, your honor,, if we keep going," Scherer said she would begin again but would give the defense the opportunity to argue it further Wednesday.