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Judge removes himself from lottery ticket trial

White County circuit judge Thomas Hughes removed himself from the lottery ticket trial case on Friday citing irregularities in the proceedings that could result in the questioning of his impartiality on the case.
SEARCY, AR - White County circuit judge Thomas Hughes removed himself from the lottery ticket trial case on Friday citing irregularities in the proceedings that could result in the questioning of his impartiality on the case.

Attorneys for Sharon Jones, who claims to have found the $1 million ticket in the trash says they were pleased with the judge's decision on Friday.

"We think this is the right thing to do," James Simpson says. "This gives us a fresh chance to present evidence in the case going forward with a new judge.  We think the case will run much smoother now."

Judge orders new trial in lottery ticket dispute

WHITE COUNTY, AR - A new trial means new hope for a Beebe woman who claims she found a $1 million lottery ticket.

White County Circuit Judge Thomas Hughes ordered a new trial Thursday. Sharon Jones, who says she found the winning ticket in a waste bin at the Super 1 Stop last July, says she's hopeful the verdict could go her way this time. "It's been a terrible 10 months." Jones is very happy there will be a new trial and hopes this time for a different outcome.

Judge Hughes awarded the $1 million lottery ticket Jones claims she found to Sharon Duncan, who claims she bought the ticket and threw it away.

William Jones, Sharon's husband, claims this case has always been about greed on the plaintiff's part. "It was basically finders keepers, losers weepers."

But now the new trial has the potential to bring peace and justice for the Jones family. Their attorney, Jimmy Simpson, says had the judge not made the decision first, he would have filed a request for a new trial. He says there is more to the story. "We're asking Judge Hughes to recuse himself from the case."

Sharon and William Jones say this entire process has been hurtful, and they're ready for closure. "I really don't think it'll go as far as a new trial. I think it is going to be recognized there's nothing there to try."

Simpson says his feeling is that a new trail will end in a verdict favorable for Sharon Jones.

Messages for the attorney for Sharon Duncan, the woman Judge Hughes awarded the money to, were not returned.

The motion for recusal filed this afternoon cites several reasons including bias, inappropriate actions and conversations on behalf of Judge Hughes.

No new trial date has been set yet.
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