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Monday, December 14, 2015

Ind. Courts - "Judge recuses herself from Lake County councilman's criminal case"

Elvia Malagon is reporting late this afternoon in the NWI Times in a story that begins:

CROWN POINT — Citing the power Lake County Councilman Jamal Washington has over her budget, Lake Superior Judge Julie Cantrell recused herself Monday from the pending criminal case.

Cantrell recused herself during an initial hearing in her courtroom for Washington. She said Washington is part of a three-person committee that decides her court's budget.

Washington plans to continue his work on the County Council, "representing his constituents with the same effort, compassion, and dedication that he has displayed since being elected," according to a statement issued by his attorney, Paul Stracci.Washington, 42, faces two counts of strangulation, Level 6 felonies, and domestic battery, a Level 6 felony, stemming from a Dec. 3 incident at his Merrillville home.

He was not present in court, because Cantrell had excused his appearance.

Cantrell said she will send an order today to the Indiana Supreme Court requesting they select a judge outside of Lake County to preside over Washington's case.

The Lake County prosecutor's office had already requested a special prosecutor be appointed to handle the prosecution of the case because the County Council makes decisions about the office's budget.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Maureen Koonce requested no contact orders be issued against Washington and the women involved in the case. Cantrell said the judge who takes over the case will rule on the request.

Cantrell noted three protective orders have already been issued against Washington that involve the two women he is accused of battering and one of his daughters. Koonce said the state was seeking to prevent Washington from having contact with his other child while the case was pending.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 14, 2015 05:39 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts