STATE SEEKS RECUSAL OF JUDGE, WHO DEFIES THE MOTION
Former First Asst. DA Greg Davis (R) waits for a summons to testify that never came
WACO – Prosecutors in two Twin Peaks cases reversed the tables by seeking the recusal of 19th Criminal District Ralph Strother in a motion hearing to disqualify elected Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna.
The judge sat thunderstruck for moments before recessing court to go to his chambers and study the motion seeking his recusal. When he returned, he expressed surprise by saying previously the state sought to retain him on the Twin Peaks cases.
“It’s a little bit of a surprise that the state now moves to recuse the Court.
“I will not voluntarily recuse myself,” he said, declaring the hearing at an end without setting a new time an date for a future hearing. He said he will step aside only “if Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield,” the region’s administrative judge, appoints a visiting judge to take his place.
Newsmen scrambled to see the recusal motion, but no copies had been made available to the Court Coordinator or the Clerk’s Office.
When asked the grounds for the recusal request, lead prosecutor Michael Jarrett said “In the interest of avoiding any appearance of impropriety, I will not comment.” He explained, “There are accusations,” involved in the text.
Defendants Jorge Salinas and Billy McRee had sought the disqualification of the DA and his staff on a myriad of allegations of influence peddling, misappropriation of evidence, and withholding exculpatory evidence sought in discovery. A long list of witnesses who have given affidavits in a federal probe by the FBI were subpoenaed and standing by to testify, to no avail.
Earlier, attorney Robert Callahan had been expelled from the well of the court, where he sought to assist attorneys for the defense.
When asked about the recusal motion, he replied at his place in the gallery, “It’s essentially that they (the prosecution) don’t want to have this hearing.”