Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Judge recuses himself in cases involving 2009 murder

We wrote some time ago about the case of rapper Torence Hatch, known as "Lil Boosie." As we noted, Hatch was acquitted of charges first degree murder stemming from allegations that he paid a hitman to kill an individual. Interestingly, the judge in charge of that case recently disqualified himself from presiding over the trials of two other men accused of having involvement in the 2009 murder.

The decision comes after an exchange between the judge and the lead prosecutor seven weeks after Hatch's acquittal, at the beginning of proceedings against the individual prosecutors believe to be responsible for the murder.

The judge apparently asked the lead prosecutor, "Why don't you get [a case] you can prove?" Shortly after the exchange, the prosecutors filed a motion asking the judge to recuse himself or be recused, since his initial comments showed he is "biased and prejudiced" and incapable of conducting a fair and impartial trial.

The two men will reportedly be trial separately, since they made statements to police implicating one another. Both are charged with first-degree murder in the killing.

One of the defendants would not be eligible for the death penalty if convicted, since he was a minor at the time the alleged murder took place.

Having a fair and impartial trial is a very important right in the criminal justice system. When the judge or the jury is biased, it can taint the verdict of the case. Jury selection is particularly important, and it takes a certain amount of skill and strategy to sort through who is best suited to participate in the trial. Having an experienced attorney at one's side through this process is invaluable.

Source: The Advocate, "Judge recused in murder trials," Joe Gyan Jr., August 5, 2012

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