Nikolas Cruz, 21, is scheduled for a criminal hearing in a Broward County court on Friday. The proceedings are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET. You can watch these in the player above.
This is technically unrelated to the February 14, 2018, mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He was charged the following November for allegedly attacking a Broward County sergeant while in jail, and grabbing the official’s stun gun. His defense is in court Friday in a bid to strike down one of the charges: attempted aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer. They said it’s not recognized under Florida law, according to a motion obtained by Law&Crime.
Citing law and case law, they argued that Section 784.07 of Florida law doesn’t cover attempted battery, and so it cannot be reclassified when allegedly committed against a law enforcement officer.
“The statute clearly and unambiguously lists the offenses eligible for reclassification, and attempted aggravated battery is clearly and unambiguously absent from the list,” they said. “Accordingly, section 784.07 does not reclassify attempted aggravated battery; and therefore, attempted aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer is a nonexistent offense.”
They compare this situation to other laws that explicitly reclassify certain offenses.
“If this Court were to find that attempted aggravated battery is a criminal offense recognized in the State of Florida, then the provisions in sections 782.065 and 775.087 specifying their application to both completed and attempted offenses would be completely useless.”
Cruz is currently scheduled to stand trial in the Parkland shooting starting January 27, 2020. His defense hasn’t disputed that he was responsible (he confessed on video), but they’re trying to save him from the death penalty. A hearing in that case is scheduled to follow the attempted battery hearing at 1:30 p.m. on Friday.
17 people lost their lives at the Parkland shooting: 14-year-old student Alyssa Alhadeff, 35-year-old teacher Scott Beigel, 14-year-old student Martin Duque Anguiano, 17-year-old student Nicholas Dworet, 37-year-old assistant football coach Aaron Feis, 14-year-old student Jaime Guttenberg, 49-year-old athletic director Christopher Hixon, 15-year-old student Luke Hoyer, 14-year-old student Cara Loughran, 14-year-old student Gina Montalto, 17-year-old student Joaquin Oliver, 14-year-old student Alaina Petty, 18-year-old student Meadow Pollack, 17-year-old student Helena Ramsay, 14-year-old student Alexander Schachter, 16-year-old student Carmen Schentrup, and 15-year-old student Peter Wang.
Cruz also faces 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder in that case.
[Image via Taimy Alvarez-Pool/Getty Images]