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Richmond judge won’t step down from police shooting case

(AP) An attorney for a man charged with two felonies after being shot by a Richmond police officer asked the judge in the case to recuse himself, but the judge refused.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that attorney Katherine Poindexter alleged in court on June 4 that Judge David Eugene Cheek Sr. had already made up his mind and that she fears her client, Orlando Carter Jr., may not get a fair trial.

The judge denied any bias or partiality on his part.

“I will try this case, and I will try it fairly,” he said.

Carter, 27, was shot three times by a police officer after a vehicle pursuit through Richmond’s East End on Dec. 31. Carter was charged with possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, as well as eluding police.

In court Friday, amid tense exchanges between the defense attorney and the judge, Poindexter said some of the facts of the case “are very much in dispute.”

Poindexter said Carter was shot three times in the back, something she said is inconsistent with the prosecution’s theory that Carter was pointing a gun at officer Ja-Ontay Wilson when Carter was shot.

Whether Carter was in possession of a gun at the time is a key issue in the case, but Poindexter alleged that Cheek already had decided that Carter had a gun.

On Friday, Cheek maintained that “all the evidence that I had is that he had a gun and he had a record.”

Cheek pointed out that at an earlier bond hearing, he ruled in Carter’s favor regarding the $20,000 personal recognizance bond.

“I haven’t found him guilty,” the judge said. “I gave him a bond; that would be inconsistent.”

After Friday’s hearing, Poindexter said she’s now considering withdrawing herself from the case.

“If your relationship with your client or the court deteriorates to the point that you can no longer be effective or zealous in his defense, you have to ask the question if you should step aside,” she said.

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