SHREVEPORT, La. — Caddo District Court docket Decide Chris Victory, who acquitted 4 cops of felony expenses within the loss of life of a prisoner, shouldn’t be biased towards police and shouldn’t be recused from listening to the trial of one other legislation officer, a colleague has dominated.
Caddo prosecutors had taken the weird step of in search of Victory’s recusal from the upcoming bench trial of a sheriff’s deputy, saying he’s biased in favor of legislation enforcement, as evidenced by his current acquittal of the cops and his membership in a fraternal police group. Victory denied favoritism and refused to recuse himself, however requested one other decide to resolve the problem.
Caddo District Decide Donald Hathaway heard testimony Thursday and dominated in Victory’s favor.
“There was completely no proof of any bias by Decide Chris Victory within the cops’ case; he performed a good and neutral trial,” stated Ron Miciotto, the deputy’s legal professional, who argued Victory shouldn’t be recused from listening to his shopper’s case. “The outcomes of that trial have been based mostly on a scarcity of proof.”
Caddo District Lawyer James Stewart stated he expects to resolve subsequent week whether or not to enchantment Hathaway’s ruling.
Miciotto, in a movement arguing in opposition to recusal, stated the D.A. was making an attempt to intimidate a sitting decide in future instances in opposition to police.
“This movement seems to be an improper try at an enchantment of Decide Victory’s determination in that (cops) case, or, on the very least, the District Lawyer’s Workplace is utilizing this movement as a public solution to voice his displeasure with Decide Victory’s determination,” Miciotto stated.
Earlier than issuing his ruling on Thursday, Decide Hathaway heard testimony from an official of the native Fraternal Order of Police, who stated Victory was an inactive member. And attorneys additionally confirmed there have been different judges – amongst them present Caddo Judges Erin Waddell and Edwin Byrd, a juvenile courtroom decide and an appeals courtroom decide – who’ve been FOP members, as was D.A. Stewart from 2015-18.
Members of the district legal professional’s employees testified about what they described because the rarity of judges issuing directed verdicts of acquittal after the prosecution completes its case and earlier than the protection presents its aspect, as Victory did.
13 cops dealing with felony expenses in Victory’s part of Caddo District Court docket have opted for a bench trial earlier than him fairly than a jury trial.
Caddo Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Chapman is accused of misconduct in the way in which he handled a 68-year-old who died whereas in custody. Chapman has pleaded not responsible and opted for a bench trial.
Eight Shreveport cops awaiting trial on expenses of utilizing extreme in opposition to two suspects have additionally opted for a bench trial earlier than Victory.
Earlier this yr, 4 metropolis cops charged with malfeasance within the loss of life of a suspect throughout a battle to arrest him have been acquitted in a bench trial earlier than Victory.
In in search of Victory’s recusal, prosecutors pointed to his affiliate membership within the FOP, a company of present and retired legislation officers that advocates assist for officers. Victory joined the FOP throughout his 2019-20 marketing campaign for decide. Prosecutors stated Victory ought to have disclosed his membership earlier than trial and in addition questioned whether or not a big police presence in Victory’s courtroom and the hallway exterior it influenced the decision.
Victory, in a written response filed earlier, categorically denied partiality towards legislation officers and stated the FOP was amongst a number of civic group he joined throughout his marketing campaign for decide. He stated he was unaware what number of cops have been exterior his courtroom.
“The (FOP) affiliation was so tangential that it by no means crossed my thoughts till the (recusal) movement was filed,” Victory stated, including that he had contacted the FOP and instructed them to take away his affiliation.
Victory stated he was involved about setting a nasty precedent if he recused himself from the deputy’s case.
“If my attendance at just a few conferences of a legislation enforcement group throughout a judicial marketing campaign leads to a discovering of bias in favor of legislation enforcement, that might jeopardize my potential to preside over any felony case,” he stated.
In a movement in search of to recuse Victory from presiding over the deputy’s case, Stewart’s workplace stated Victory “is biased, prejudiced and/or personally eager about favor of legislation enforcement to such an extent that he can be unable to conduct a good and neutral trial.”
The kind of recusal movement filed by prosecutors in opposition to a decide is extremely uncommon in Caddo Parish. Stewart stated it was not in retaliation for the decide’s acquittal of the 4 officers. He stated problems with correct police procedures that have been main elements of the primary trial would be the similar within the upcoming trials.
No trial date has been set within the deputy’s felony case.