Saturday, April 5, 2014
The Detroit Press and Guide is reporting this morning:
The judge in the case of a Dearborn Heights man accused of killing a woman on his front porch won’t step away.
Wayne County Circuit Judge Qiana Lillard denied a motion by Theodore Wafer’s attorneys to recuse herself from the case Friday morning. They claim Lillard’s ties to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office — she worked in the office before being appointed to the bench last year — create an “appearance of bias.”
Circuit Judge Timothy Kenny, the head of the court’s criminal division, will hear an appeal on April 25.
Wafer’s attorneys are not likely to get a change of venue on this ground unless she was employed by the prosecutor’s office when Wafer shot and killed McBride. That would create a conflict of interest that would require the judge to recuse herself.
Most judges are former prosecutors, so merely having worked for a prosecutor’s office is not going to be sufficient grounds to require a judge to step down.
The motion for a change of venue will likely be denied without prejudice, which means that it can be raised again during jury selection if most of the venire are familiar with the case and have formed opinions about Wafer’s guilt or innocence.
The motion to permit the defense to attack McBride’s character will likely be denied pursuant to Rule 404, although I will give defense counsel credit for phrasing it creatively to get it within the exception permitted by the rule.
My prediction: Good effort. Motion Denied.
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