He stood mute at the arraignment while the Court entered a Not Guilty Plea on his behalf. Nikolas Cruz appeared with his head down, the result of reportedly being heavily drugged. Cruz had been a patient of Henderson Behavioral Health, a contracted mental health vendor of Broward County that received $8.9 million in federal grants two distributions, one in October 2012 and the other in December of 2016.
Attorney Ostrow stated, “from the onset, Broward’s public defender office, has consistently, thrown their client under the bus in public comments made by Howard Finkelstein, essentially condemning his own client, reflecting a clear conflict of interest and an unfitness to effectively represent Cruz’s best interests. Despite this issue being addressed in various motions filed with the court, based on a host of supporting facts, the court has rejected any such arguments to date, citing a lack of standing, as opposed to the merits of the argument.”
Nikolas Cruz, a product of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCF), was labeled with a string of alleged mental disorders, including depression, ADHD, emotional behavioral disability and autism and was, apparently “treated.”
It has been reported that he had been medicated throughout his young life, but how much or which psychiatric, mind-altering drugs appears to be the only selective mental health records that were not leaked by the Mayor of Broward County, Beam Furr.
Given the complete subjectivity associated with psychiatric diagnosing, it is of little surprise that the mental health wizards of Henderson Behavioral Health reported to DCF that Cruz was not a risk to harm himself or others.
A grand jury formally indicted Cruz on 34 counts, including and 17 counts of premeditated first-degree murder and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder in the injuries to 17 others – charges that make Cruz a prime candidate for the death penalty.
Long-time Broward County attorney, Howard Finkelstein heads up the Public Defender’s Office charged with handling his defense. In February of 2018, Finkelstein’s suspect remarks about his client were featured in the New York Times article Feb. 24, 2018, After a School Shooting, a Question of One More Death: The Gunman. It raised serious questions about Cruz’s ability to get appropriate representation and a fair trial: It reads:
“If it were my daughter, I would want to personally kill my client, make no mistake about it.”
Guilty or innocent, there is a time and a place for everything and, certainly, Finkelstein is entitled to his own opinion. But when it appears that the Chief of the Public Defender’s Office is throwing you under the bus in the New York Times, and your life is on the line, maybe it is time to seek a more sympathetic attorney. Unfortunately, Cruz has been denied this ability. The accused, Cruz, is incarcerated in Broward County Jail and, apparently, heavily drugged and on suicide watch.
In this regard, attempts made by a local criminal defense attorney, Gary Ostrow, to assist Cruz have been blocked by the Public Defender’s office.
(Gary Ostrow has almost exclusively practiced criminal law for over 30 years and tried hundreds of cases from South Florida to New York and Los Angeles and has many published blog articles relating to his trial experiences as well his relentless advocacy for those who cannot speak for themselves and the oppressed.)
Maybe people are no longer innocent until proven guilty. Additionally, it appears that Gordon Weeks, Chief Assistant to the Public Defender, is more concerned with sparing the community of having to relive the shooting, rather than providing a thorough a defense.
Perhaps a trial would actually help the community to discover material facts as to what caused the young man to carry out such a heinous act. The information gleaned from a trial may not only prevent another school shooting, but could also help stop the mental health vendors from drugging children with mind-altering drugs and rubber stamping them as “treated.”
Facts have a way of coming out during a trial. Cruz needs a fair shake and let the chips fall where they may. But, in order to do so, the drugging of the accused must stop. He deserves responsible legal representation and the opportunity to enter his own plea.
Short of providing new council, it appears that we are going down the same path, with too many unnecessary deaths and another child involved in the mental health system that provides “cradle to grave” drugging.