WUSF by Caitlin Switalski
January 22, 2019The legal team defending the confessed-Parkland shooter argued in front of a Broward Circuit judge Friday morning that the state commission investigating the shooting should not have had access to Nikolas Cruz’s confidential medical and mental health records.
The team of public defenders, led by attorney Melisa McNeill, asked Judge Elizabeth Scherer to hold the Broward Sheriff’s Office in contempt of court for releasing Cruz’s confidential medical and mental health records to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission.
McNeill also asked Scherer to set a separate evidence hearing with the BSO to determine whether the agency as a whole or only an individual within the agency are responsible for releasing the records.
Rather than deciding if an additional hearing is necessary on Friday, Judge Scherer told the court she will make a decision by early next week.
“I will take this under advisement,” she said.
An earlier court order from last May details that only law enforcement officers who are directly involved in the criminal case, and State Attorney’s Office employees who are directly involved in the prosecution, should have access to Cruz’s medical and mental health records.
Medical and mental health records are also protected under federal HIPPA law.
Defense attorneys argued on behalf of Cruz, that giving the records to more people than just those directly involved with his case, disrupts his chance for a fair trial.