"Senior judge Martin McDonald removed from case after threatening lawyer," is the title of Andrew Wolfson's report in today's Louisville Courier-Journal.
Senior Judge Martin McDonald has been removed from a death penalty case in which he threatened to strangle a lawyer who called his cellphone and referred to the lawyer’s case as “ridiculous,” “disgusting” and a “huge waste of time.”
Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. disqualified McDonald in an order dated Oct. 24.
That was nine days after Assistant Public Advocate David Barron filed a motion to remove McDonald from the case, in which Roger Dale Epperson is seeking a new trial in one of his murder convictions based on claims that his trial lawyers were ineffective.
Judges are rarely disqualified, but this is the second time in two months that McDnoald has been removed. Minton disqualified him from a civil case last month after allegations that he failed to disclose a conflict of interest and demonstrated other bias.
In the more recent case, Barron said in a motion that “it is my opinion that throughout the proceeding, Judge McDonald expressed his personal disgust and disdain for me and made clear he harbors a bias towards me and my client,” whom McDonald referred to as a “carcass.”
McDonald’s comments in the hearing have attracted national attention in the American Bar Association Journal, which included a link to the video of the hearing.
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