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Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter’s court hearings must be open | Bill Cotterell

Nikolas Cruz is going to die in prison, a fate he richly deserves, so the only thing remaining to be decided in his ghastly case is whether his death comes in a few years or a few decades.

Cruz has admitted the fatal shootings of 17 people and the wounding of 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day of 2018. His public defenders have offered to enter a guilty plea in exchange for multiple life-without-parole sentences, but the state is seeking the death penalty for Cruz.

Pretrial hearings on numerous matters are approaching, and the defense wants them closed to the public. South Florida news organizations are, naturally, fighting to keep the proceedings open.

It’s plausible that, as defense attorneys contend, some irrelevant and prejudicial information will come out in those hearings, and that some witnesses or evidence will be ruled inadmissible. But publishing or broadcasting accurate news accounts of arguments on the pretrial motions won’t taint prospective jurors, who will be questioned carefully months later when the case gets to trial.

Read the full article here.