Eighth judge recuses himself from trial in Alabama police shooting of Black man
The case of a white police officer who killed an unarmed Black man in Alabama in 2016, has been a hard case to try mainly because now for the eighth time, a judge has recused himself, The Montgomery Advertiser reports.
It’s mind-boggling to many in the Montgomery community how judge after judge keeps falling to the wayside, recusing themselves from presiding over the murder trial of Montgomery officer Aaron Cody Smith, charged with the fatal shooting of Greg Gunn.
Last Friday, the latest judge Sam Welch, former presiding judge of the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, was named to oversee the case by the Alabama Supreme Court. He was brought in after the last Montgomery circuit judge, Judge Jimmy Pool, recused himself.
Pool was the last judge left out of a pool of judges after the Supreme Court ruled Judge Greg Griffin could not be impartial in the case and it was a change in judge and venue was ordered.
Welch recused himself and then hours later the state Supreme Court recruited retired Dale County Circuit Judge Philip Ben McLauchlin to tackle the case.
Welch had to recuse himself because it seems the Supreme Court made an error since Welch has already ruled twice on the Gunn case, according to reports.
Chief Justice Tom Parker recused himself.
Griffin was found to be unfit to sit on the case by Senior Associate Justice Michael Bolin. He also ordered that the case be moved out of Montgomery County.
Other judges who recused themselves include Presiding Montgomery County Circuit Judge Johnny Hardwick, and Circuit Judge James Anderson who recused himself next in March 2017.
Another Judge Truman Hobbs, Judge J.R. Gaines and former Judge Roman Shaul recused themselves without reason.
Gunn was shot and killed by Smith after walking home from a neighborhood card game when Smith conducted a random stop-and-frisk. As he was being patted down by Smith, Gunn fled and Smith chased, tased and beat Gunn before shooting him five times, the outlet reports.
Smith said it was self-defense.
No court date for a trial or venue has been set yet.