The African American judge, who was assigned to oversee the trial of Philando Castile, has been removed at the behest of the accused officer’s attorneys – and this is actually legal.
Lawyers for St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop, filed a notice Thursday to remove Judge Edward Wilson from the court, under rules of criminal procedure in Minnesota which gives permission to strike out one judge from a case – without a need to give any explanation.
The requests are automatically granted.
Wilson was originally assigned to the case because he is the second most experienced judge in the district and has been on the bench since 1987.
Wilson was first appointed by former Gov. Rudy Perpich and was elected five times, the most recent time in 2012. His current term expires in 2019.
He has served on the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission (1990-2002), the Supreme Court Racial Bias Task Force (1991-1993) and the St. Paul Anti-Drug Task Force (1988-1990).
Yet defense attorney Earl Gray said “we felt that we had to remove him” based on “research” the details of which have not been revealed.
“Simple as that,” ended Gray.
The Star Tribune notedGray has tried a case before Wilson before.
Ramsey County Chief Judge John Guthmann said that he gave Wilson the case because of his seniority and availability and that it had nothing to do with race.
However, it seems his removal does have something to do with race.
Why else would a judge with a highly impressive resume be removed without an explanation?
So the officer can get a black judge removed in the Philando Castile case. But when a black man goes to court he has to face a white jury 🙄— R.c (@anc08c) December 23, 2016
Most MN judges are white. This judge isn't. Guess which case he just got removed from: https://t.co/cOSiwY1VCm— Rory Fleming (@RoryFleming8A) December 23, 2016
There have been several instances where attorneys have tried to eliminate diversity from the court of law. During the trial of Walter Scott, who was shot by a police officer Michael Slager, the jury was composed of 11 white jurors and only a single black juror.
In the case of Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, who sexually assaulted 13 women, the juror was composed of all-white members.
Only one woman was a minority in the jury for George Zimmerman’s trial.
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