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COA judge recuses himself from case

March 20, 2009

The Indiana Court of Appeals granted a rehearing in John Pickett v. State of Indiana, No. 47A01-0807-CR-322, to address whether Judge Cale Bradford should have recused himself because his ex-wife, Kimberly A. Jackson, represented John Pickett on appeal.

Judge Bradford admitted it escaped his attention that Jackson was the attorney on the case and he has a policy to recuse himself from cases in which she is involved. The judge recused himself from the case immediately, including the instant petition for rehearing.

Pickett asked the appellate court to withdraw the original decision and appoint a new panel to hear his appeal and to require Judge Bradford to "issue a standing order of recusal pursuant to Rule 2.11(A) of Jud. Canon 2 in cases in which Pickett's counsel represents one of the parties."

Judges Ezra Friedlander and Melissa May declined to sanction the concept of a "standing order" in this circumstance. The judges withdrew the original opinion and asked the Court of Appeals Administrator's Office to designate a replacement for Judge Bradford on the panel instead of having a new panel hear the appeal. Once the replacement judge has been named, the consideration of the appeal will proceed as normal, wrote Judge Friedlander.

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