Judge removed from cases against 'Jena Six' teens - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Judge removed from cases against 'Jena Six' teens

New Orleans_A state district judge on Friday decided that the judge presiding over the cases of five black teens prosecuted for allegedly beating a white teen could not be fair and removed him.

Judge J.P. Mauffray Jr. had acknowledged calling the teens "trouble makers" and "a violent bunch" but insisted he could be impartial. Judge Thomas M. Yeager, who was asked by defense attorneys to review the case, found there was an appearance of impropriety and took Mauffray off the case.

"The right to a fair and impartial judge is of particular importance in the present cases," Yeager wrote.

Six black teens were arrested and initially charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with a December 4, 2006, attack on fellow Jena High School student Justin Barker, who is white. The charges were later reduced.

Jesse Ray Beard, Robert Bailey Jr., Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis and Theo Shaw now face aggravated second-degree battery charges. Beard is charged as a juvenile.

Mychal Bell is the only member of the group that has been tried. He was originally charged as an adult with attempted murder. The charge was reduced before a jury convicted him last June of aggravated second-degree battery.

In September, an appeals court overturned the verdict and ordered Bell tried as a juvenile. He pleaded guilty to a juvenile charge of second-degree battery. He now lives in Monroe, Louisiana, with a foster family and is attending school.

The case aggravated racial tensions in the tiny, central Louisiana town, and led to a massive civil rights demonstration last September.

Mauffray was out of town, court officials said, and would not comment on the ruling.

District Attorney Reed Walters said he may appeal the decision.

"Whatever ultimately happens concerning the judge, this does not mean these cases go away," he said. "It will just take longer to get them to trial. However, I may seek to have the decision overturned."

An attorney for Beard said he hoped it the Louisiana Supreme Court would quickly appoint a new judge to hear the remaining cases.

"Everyone is entitled to a fair judge, not the judge they want," attorney David Utter said. "It mystifies me why the district attorney would fight this."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • A CDC ban on 'fetus' and 'transgender?' Experts alarmed

    A CDC ban on 'fetus' and 'transgender?' Experts alarmed

    Saturday, December 16 2017 7:49 PM EST2017-12-17 00:49:07 GMT
    Sunday, December 17 2017 12:40 PM EST2017-12-17 17:40:51 GMT

    Health leaders say they are alarmed about reports that officials at the nation's top public health agency are being told not to use certain words in official budget documents, including "fetus," and "transgender.".

    Health leaders say they are alarmed about reports that officials at the nation's top public health agency are being told not to use certain words in official budget documents, including "fetus," and "transgender.".

  • Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set 'to rock'

    Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set 'to rock'

    Saturday, December 16 2017 3:16 AM EST2017-12-16 08:16:02 GMT
    Sunday, December 17 2017 12:40 PM EST2017-12-17 17:40:35 GMT
    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, is pursued by reporters in the Capitol after signing the conference committee report to advance the GOP tax bill, in Washington, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, is pursued by reporters in the Capitol after signing the conference committee report to advance the GOP tax bill, in Washington, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017.

    Republicans working to execute their first major legislative achievement of Donald Trump's presidency appear to have secured the votes to pass a massive tax overhaul that Trump hoped to present to Americans. 

    Republicans working to execute their first major legislative achievement of Donald Trump's presidency appear to have secured the votes to pass a massive tax overhaul that Trump hoped to present to the American people for Christmas.

  • Special counsel obtains thousands of Trump transition emails

    Special counsel obtains thousands of Trump transition emails

    Sunday, December 17 2017 3:19 AM EST2017-12-17 08:19:20 GMT
    Sunday, December 17 2017 12:40 PM EST2017-12-17 17:40:26 GMT

    Several people familiar with President Donald Trump's transition organization say special counsel Robert Mueller's team gained access to thousands of private emails sent and received by Trump officials before his administration began.

    Several people familiar with President Donald Trump's transition organization say special counsel Robert Mueller's team gained access to thousands of private emails sent and received by Trump officials before his administration began.

Powered by Frankly