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|10-21-2014, 11:10 PM||#1|
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'' comment prompts hearing in Adrian Peterson case
A hearing is scheduled Wednesday regarding prosecutors' motion to have the judge presiding over Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson's criminal trial recused from the case. Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon cited recent comments by Judge Kelly Case when questioning his honor's impartiality.
During an initial court appearance by Peterson, court records read Ligon approached the judge with a problem.
"It has come to my attention that on Oct. 2 (that) you referred to Mr. (Rusty) Hardin (Peterson's attorney) as a ," Ligon stated.
"I'm sorry, who?" the judge responded.
"Mr. Hardin as a , specifically as a media . And you also called me a , or a media ," Ligon said.
Court records read the judge apologized and brushed the comment off as "humorous." Ligon disagreed and told the judge, "But your comment could prejudice Mr. Peterson to get a fair trial."
Court records read Hardin then spoke up, "Just for the record, I don't take offense to it, judge. I've been called much worse."
"Well, so have I," the judge said.
Ligon asked Case to voluntarily recuse himself, but he declined. Prosecutors then filed a motion to have the judge removed from the case.
Houston attorney Chris Downey said he believes this will be a tough battle for the District Attorney's Office to win.
"It might be crass, it might be impolite, but it doesn't evidence unfairness," said Downey. "And, of course, some might say it was made in reference to both parties, so there's no evidence of bias."
Downey said the DA's call for a hearing on the judge's impartiality may simply be a so-called "shot across the bow," a notice that any other comments could continually impede Peterson's day in court.
"It seems that he's implying that the judge doesn't personally like him. Well, that's not proof that he's impartial. The judge doesn't have to like the players, he just has to be fair to them," said Downey.
Peterson's attorneys said they are opposing the motion to have judge Case recused.
Peterson is facing felony child abuse charges stemming from incident where he is accused of using a tree branch to punish his son.
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