Attorneys for Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz are seeking an emergency hearing to block the release of a statement the confessed mass killer made just hours after his capture.
The defense claims prosecutors are prepared to release a transcript and video of the statement Thursday or Friday, but want Judge Elizabeth Scherer to block that release until she determines which sections may be exempt from public release.
A hearing has been scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m. to address the motion.
As grounds, public defender Howard Finkelstein argues release “will cause significant trauma to an already beleaguered community, impede the defendant’s constitutional right against self-incrimination, as well as his right to a fair and impartial trial.”
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The motion says Cruz spoke to Broward Sheriff’s Det. John Curcio while under arrest beginning at 6:18 p.m. on the evening of the Feb. 14th massacre, but was not issued a Miranda warning.
“I can only talk to you to hear from you what was going on with you,” the motion quotes Curcio as telling Cruz, calling that a strategic attempt to establish Cruz acted with premeditation and to undermine any potential insanity defense – without reading him his right to remain silent.
After getting that portion of the interrogation, the defense said, Curcio did issue the Miranda warnings. “Only limited portions of the statement contain questions and answers that do not pertain to the defendant’s participation in the crimes,” the motion states.
It also says Curcio made statements that are “irrelevant, prejudicial and inadmissible.”
Cruz requested the presence of a psychologist during the statement, and Curcio “failed to follow mandated protocol to provide the defendant with the opportunity to have a mental health professional present,” the motion states.
Cruz’s attorneys had previously stated they would enter a guilty plea if the state would take the death penalty off the table, which prosecutors said they would not do.