After Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz's defense team unexpectedly rested their case today, Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer rendered unto them a bollocking for the ages.
"We're not playing chess," Scherer said, shaking her head, then asking prosecutors if they could get cracking early. With dozens of witnesses to organize, they could not. Scherer turned back to Cruz's lawyers and let loose.
"I just want to say this is the most uncalled-for, unprofessional way to try the case. You all knew about this. Even if you didn't make decision until this morning, to have 22 people march into court waiting for it. … It's another day wasted. I've never experienced this level of unprofessionalism in my career. It's unbelievable."
Cruz's lead attorney, Melisa McNeil, began to speak, mentioning the judge's own scheduling and asking to be able to make an on-the-record response—"You're insulting me on the record in front of my client, your honor"—but Scherer cut her off and continued her rant.
"You've been insulting me the entire trial," Scherer said. "Blatantly. Taking your headphones off. Arguing with me. Storming out. Coming late intentionally if you don't like my rulings. Quite frankly, this is long overdue."
Cruz, 23, has already pleaded guilty to killing 14 students and 3 staffers at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and his trial is to determine whether he is executed or jailed for life.
(Note that court watchers online says that the judge's remarks do not reflect the quality or the substance of the actual defense, an assumption some found implied by the reference to chess, as if they had "resigned".)