US District Judge Beth Blood has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the survivors of this year’s shooting at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, saying that the school and sheriff’s department weren’t responsible to protect students from Nikolas Cruz under the 14th amendment.
The 14th amendment says that the state can’t deprive anyone of life, liberty or property without due process of the law. Bloom wrote that the amendment typically protects individuals by actions of the state instead of requiring the state to protect them from third parties.
Viewed properly, the claim arises from the actions of Cruz, a third party, and not a state actor,” Bloom wrote. “Thus, the critical question the court analyzes is whether defendants had a constitutional duty to protect plaintiffs from the actions of Cruz. For such a duty to exist on the part of defendants, plaintiffs would have to be considered to be in custody.”
The students who survived the shooting on Valentine’s Day filed a lawsuit against the school and the sheriff last summer, claiming they had a duty to protect them and the school and sheriff failed to do that.
Cruz, who killed 17 people during the massacre, is currently awaiting trial. Prosecutors said that they are seeking the death penalty in this case.
Kristoffer Budhram, the attorney who filed the lawsuit for the students, doesn’t see eye to eye with the judge’s ruling.
“We respectfully disagree with Judge Bloom’s decision to dismiss our clients’ case,” Budhram said in an email to USA TODAY. “This case is about protecting the Constitutional rights of individuals who were the victims of one of the worst mass shootings in this country’s history.”
“We are exploring all of our options for ensuring that they get their day in court, including appealing Judge Bloom’s decision.”