It appears that William Marcus “Marc” Wilson’s legal troubles are over. A new judge has been sought by Wilson’s legal team for months, claiming bias and prejudice. The judge in charge of the case must step down following a judgement made early Friday afternoon.
In a seven-page decision, Senior Judge Michael L. Karpf requested that Wilson’s case be rescheduled in accordance with the ordinary court procedures. Judge Michael T. Muldrew was not found to be biassed or to have engaged in any inappropriate conduct according to Karpf’s judgement, but he did conclude that Wilson or his attorneys could be subject to an appearance of bias.
“While the court does not assign genuine bias or prejudice by the trial judge towards the defendant or his counsel, the chain of circumstances detailed above generate such an appearance,” stated Karpf.
The senior judge described the occurrence that led to the request for his recusal from the proceedings. He observed that during the discovery process, the prosecutor never gave the defence team a notebook containing evidence. Attorney Francys Johnson requested that the clerk take control of the notebook in order to “preserve a chain of custody” after it was accidentally returned to the defence.
Grateful for @JusticeForMarc_ and @AJustGeorgia continued advocacy to ensure Marc gets a fair trial. It’s time to finally bring Marc home after over 600 days in pretrial detention. #JusticeForMarc
Stay tuned for updates!! pic.twitter.com/vjSPnzDN7n
— Rev. James “Major” Woodall (@iMajorWish) February 4, 2022
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Condemned Johnson was detained for contempt of court. Johnson’s co-counsel, both African-American attorneys, Muldrew said he had several lawyers express “concern about the level of representation offered.”
Lawyers outside of the case discussing the defence team’s performance “would constitute an extra-judicial communication suggestive of prejudice towards trial counsel,” according to Karpf.
Many more than 100 lawyers signed an open letter of support for Johnson’s defence after Muldrew claimed to have received complaints about the way the case was handled.
Mr. Dominguez, an Atlanta civil rights lawyer, says the hostility shown toward Mr. Wilson’s legal team should worry all lawyers and citizens of this state about the type of justice accessible in Bulloch County.
When Muldrew was subpoenaed, the prosecutor appeared to answer on Muldrew’s behalf.
According to Karpf’s writing, “the appearance exists regardless of the judge’s involvement” in that submission.
Wilson has been in jail awaiting trial for almost 600 days now after being denied bail and having his immunity hearing for his “stand your ground” claim repeatedly postponed. In August, Muldrew turned down Wilson’s request for bail. Muldrew did not give a judgement allowing Wilson to remain in custody after a second bond hearing in December 2020.
If Wilson gets a fair hearing with a new judge, the case may be able to go more quickly now that it has to be rescheduled. Cases like this one show just how unfair it is for people who say they were acting in self-defense to be taken seriously.
When it comes to stand your ground cases, white defendants have a much better chance of winning than black ones.
According to NewsOne, Wilson has been charged with the murder of Haley Hutcheson, a 17-year-old high school student. Wilson claims that a gang of youths hurled racist epithets at him and his girlfriend and attempted to run them off the road. Recalling the terror he felt right before the shooting. Wilson admitted that he and his girlfriend were afraid because of the racial tensions in the area at the time.
According to Nse Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project, “Judge Karpf’s order reiterates why judicial and prosecutorial accountability is critically needed today more than ever.”