HomeTop StoriesBlack defendant gets retrial after white judge said he 'looks like a...

Black defendant gets retrial after white judge said he ‘looks like a criminal’

A black defendant has been given a new trial in a Michigan court after a district judge, who is white, said the defendant “looks like a criminal.”

The Washington Post reported that a panel of appeals court judges ruled in a 3-0 decision to overturn Leron Liggins’ 2021 drug conviction and the 10-year sentence he served in the case, giving Liggins the chance to got to file a new lawsuit.

The panel also ruled that U.S. District Judge Stephen J. Murphy III’s previous comments at a January 2020 hearing “could be construed as clearly biasing Liggins’ guilt.”

Murphy, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush, expressed his frustration with Liggins presiding over the defendant when he switched attorneys twice. Murphy, who presided over Liggins’ case for two years at the time, said he was “tired of getting the turnaround”.

Liggins was indicted by a federal grand jury in Michigan in February 2018 for conspiracy to possess heroin with intent to distribute, according to the Post.

See also  Hun Sen's heir could get a business reception in New York after the succession in Cambodia

“This guy seems like a criminal to me,” Murphy said of Liggins. “This is what criminals do.”

Murphy, who also oversaw Liggins’ separate drug case he had in Kentucky, spoke of Liggins’ inability to cooperate with his two previous attorneys and denied the defendant an opportunity to speak at the hearing, the ruling said.

“He would deal heroin, which addicts, hurts and kills people, and he plays games with the court,” Murphy told Liggins’ lawyer. “Do you agree?”

“I can’t argue with your logic,” Liggins’ attorney said.

The case, which was postponed due to COVID-19, giving Liggins time to find his third and fourth lawyers, reached a conclusion that set his trial date for October 2021, the ruling said.

This is where Liggins requested Murphy’s recusal the day before the trial, citing the judge’s comments at the January 2020 hearing. Murphy denied the motion to recusal, according to the Post.

See also  Ukraine and Türkiye are coordinating efforts to get Russia back on the grain deal

“I was angry, I was hostile, I disapproved and I’m sorry,” Murphy said in his apology to Liggins in court, noting that he “lost my head”. “I made a mistake in shouting like that, but I was not upset or concluded that Mr. Liggins was guilty of an offense or hostile or partial to him.”

This is because the panel determined with their decision that “[i]Instead of maintaining the decorum necessary for the administration of justice, the subdistrict court judge allowed himself to make personal and judgmental remarks about the accused before him.”

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Eric Clay also wrote in Thursday’s ruling that he and other judges were concerned about the language Murphy used to describe the defendant because it “targeted Liggins, an African-American man. “

“In this case, the risk of undermining public confidence in the judicial process is significant,” Clay wrote in his opinion, saying that Murphy’s apology in court for his comment “did not adequately address the issue,” the agency reported. Post.

See also  Israeli protesters block highways in 'day of disruption' against Netanyahu's judicial review plan

For the latest news, weather, sports and streaming video, visit The Hill.

- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments