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Violin performance leads to judicial recusal

A violin performance in open court helped an Albemarle County judge decide to step aside from a case involving alleged death threats.

Circuit Judge Cheryl Higgins was concerned she might have a conflict of interest. She had been assigned the case of Patrick Crider, a high school student accused of making threats of violence on a Facebook page. A family member of the judge thought Crider might be an acquaintance – someone known to play the violin well.

Higgins decided to give the defendant a test. She produced a violin and asked him to play. A short audition was enough – the judge decided Crider must be the acquaintance. She recused herself from the case.

The Daily Progress reports Crider’s next appearance – with or without music – will be before Judge Paul Peatross.

By Peter Vieth

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