MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A judge in Hennepin County is at the center of a legal battle between prosecutors and public defenders.
The Hennepin County law firm has requested that Judge William Koch be dismissed from presiding over all felony cases assigned to him.
READ MORE: Women’s Final Four Brings Big Event Energy Back to Downtown Minneapolis
“Our problems are not about any unfavorable statements he has made. It’s about how he treats our lawyers and how he runs his courtroom,” said Dan Mabley, the chief prosecutor at HCAO.
According to prosecutors’ court records, Koch’s attitude is “often arrogant, contemptuous, condescending, condescending and disrespectful”.
He is accused of “often giving up his neutral role”, with prosecutors writing that this is “part of a long-standing pattern of behaviour”.
“Our lawyers don’t believe they will get a fair trial before Judge Koch,” Mabley said.
Minnesota law gives legal parties in a case the right to remove a judge without cause. Hennepin’s prosecutors have exercised that right over Koch in dozens of cases this year.
READ MORE: ‘Let’s Finish Strong’: Salvation Army hopes to reach 2 million pound food donation target
The county’s public defender’s office has objected, saying the HCAO’s general eviction policy is “completely devoid of legal grounds and an abuse of justice…It is instead a blatant attempt to promote favorable outcomes for to dictate to prosecutors.”
†[Public defenders] have decided that Judge Koch is right for their case,” said Joe Tamburino, a private attorney. “If they didn’t think that, they wouldn’t object to these motions.”
Hennepin County Chief Judge Todd Barnette will rule on the case.
Mabley wrote in an affidavit that he had met both Koch and Barnette in January. Mabley told WCCO Koch that he took no responsibility for the complaints and gave no indication that he would change his behaviour. Koch declined to comment through a court spokesman.
A statement from the Hennepin District Court said, “While any party appearing in a case has the right to dismiss a judge within seven days of receiving notice of the presiding judge’s name, the Minnesota Supreme Court has issued a opinion issued in State v. Erickson finding a blanket removal incorrect.Judges make legal decisions every day with one side usually happy with the decision and the other disappointed.We strive to stay true to our mission to provide justice through a system that guarantees equal access for fair and timely resolution of cases.”
MORE NEWS: Minnesota Native Shares How He Escaped War-torn Ukraine
Mabley says HCAO’s notices of Koch’s removal do not meet standards set as inappropriate by the Minnesota Supreme Court.