Friday, November 13, 2009

Judge Malcolm Harrison denies motion to recuse, but prospectively recuses in some cases

At the hearing mentioned below, Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Malcolm Harrison denied the motion to recuse filed by the defense in State v. Alicia Hanner.  The State offered no argument, but did make a record that they had provided the Court with a copy of the Jenkins case prior to the hearing.  Judge Harrison then told the parties that the County Attorney did not handle cases transferred from Jackson Municipal Court to Hinds County Court, and that this was one of those cases, despite the County Court file itself listing Judge Harrison as counsel for the State.  Frank Jones, an Assistant District Attorney, handled the preliminary hearing in County Court.  In a nutshell, Harrison found as follows:
  1. The cases he reviewed in preparation for the hearing all required active participation by the judge when he was prosecutor.
  2. The matter of State v. Alicia Hanner was transferred from Jackson Municipal Court to Hinds County Court for preliminary hearing.
  3. As a result of the transfer, the County Attorney was not involved in the prosecution of the case, therefore, no recusal warranted in this case.
  4. Recusal will occur in any cases in which prosecutors from the County Attorney's Office appeared in court.
Judge Harrison handled the matter well.  He didn't appear to be upset by the motion.  I disagree with him on the "actively participate" issue, as I think Jenkins is directly on-point on this case.  We'll see where this goes.  

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