CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, February 5, 2007

CrimProf Robert Batey Discusses Judge Recusing Himself in Murder Case

Batey_5 From Stetson University College of Law CrimProf Robert Batey recently commented on Florida child-murder case where the Prosecutors asked a judge to step down after he told them they'd probably lose at trial and suggested they offer the defendant probation.

Circuit Judge Robert Foster also had suggested to attorneys that the child's mother was a more likely suspect. Foster complied with the prosecution's request and recused himself.

Chadrick Toto Thomas, who faces murder and aggravated child abuse charges in the death of his girlfriend's 6-month-old son, now will appear before Circuit Judge Mark Wolfe.

But Foster is not alone in his skepticism about the case. Documents released last year by the Department of Children and Families also suggest the infant's mother as a suspect in his death. Thomas' attorney Rick Terrana said evidence is growing that his client is not guilty.

When CrimProf Batey was asked about the case, he said the judge's statements were not necessarily improper or biased, but it isn't surprising prosecutors asked him to step down."It's hard for judges, who are human beings like the rest of us, to restrain themselves," said Batey

"The Florida courts discourage trial court judges from engaging in that sort of behavior, but it's pretty much common knowledge that it happens relatively frequently."On the other hand, Batey said, prosecutors should consider the judge's skepticism about their case.

Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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