Nikolas Cruz was convicted for a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. This shooting led to the death of 14 students and three people that belonged to the school’s staff. Nikolas Cruz was held guilty of the murder of 17 people. Nikolas Cruz pleaded guilty, and then the punishment was to be decided for him for the crimes that he committed. According to criminal defense attorney William Umansky, “It is important to keep in mind that this was a heinous crime. In Florida, such is the case that a crime like this holds the defendant worthy of the death penalty.”
However, the jury is still out on whether or not Cruz is supposed to get the death penalty. In this case, the defense lawyers have claimed that the policy on the death penalty is quite inconsistent, and past precedent for a case like this is not established in a concrete nature. In addition to that, it is essential to consider the defense lawyers’ plea in the case that the former state attorney had yet to set a solid precedent for the death penalty. All of this is to sway the jury in favor of Cruz avoiding the death penalty.
Furthermore, in favor of Cruz, the public defender has said that the victims should not read their statements regarding being a survivor in front of the jury because the decision may become biased. The emotions involved, mixed with the intensity of the crime, are likely to sway the jury in favor of the death penalty for Nikolas Cruz. In a case such as this, the result must be objective, and the decision is regarding that of a reasonable man.
The public defender also attempted to make a case as anti-death penalty keeping in mind the factors that generally lead to the death penalty. For a person to receive the death penalty, they should disrupt public events such as rallies or riots. Or the person could also be targeting an appointed official. In the eyes of the government and legislation, which is the worst crime a person could commit, deserving the death penalty. The public defender claimed that since Nikolas Cruz had done neither of these things, the death penalty shouldn’t be an option, regardless of the degree of the crime.
The assistant state attorney also tried to sway the judges by saying that Nikolas Cruz didn’t necessarily target a public function, such as a mall full of people.
However, the Oklahoma Parole Board maintained its stance on the death penalty by targeting students, which is essentially a large group of people in a public setting. And to add to that, Nikolas Cruz also hindered a public event because he disrupted school to quite a high level. It is necessary to remember that the courts weren’t ready to give up the death penalty for a crime like this just because the literal meaning would not match.
Although the jury has not yet sat down in a hearing and gone through the nature of the events, the judge is still unwilling to take the death penalty entirely off the table. This means that the jury will be given the death penalty as a solid option.
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