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Judge Denies Motion for Recusal in Hastings Case

Josh Hastings, scheduled for retrial Sept. 16, filed a motion Tuesday to dismiss the court based on what appeared to be a clerical error.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- A judge has denied a recusal request submitted by a former Little Rock Police officer charged with manslaughter.

Josh Hastings, scheduled for retrial Sept. 16, filed a motion Tuesday to dismiss the court based on what appeared to be a clerical error.

According to an order filed on Wednesday, the law clerk sent an email to the State and Judge Wendell Griffen to "confirm that both the Prosecution and Defense had complied with the Court Order entered August 27 regarding disclosure of expert witnesses," but not to the defense.

Hastings defense says the clerk's inquiry "creates the appearance of partiality" and violates a rule of the Arkansas Code of Judicial Conduct (ACJC).

Griffen's order rejects the claims, citing the same rule of ACJC, which states that a judge is permitted to communicate with only one of the parties if the matter being discussed involves scheduling, provided he or she believes neither party will gain an advantage as a result of the communications.

The order goes on to say the law clerk harmlessly omitted the defense in the email, and that the same email was later forwarded to Hastings' lead defense counsel from the lead prosecutor.

Hastings' retrial is set to begin Monday after a jury failed to reach a verdict in June.

To read the full order denying the motion for recusal, click the attachment above.
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