Shouldn’t Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jeffrey A. Wagner recuse himself from the murder trial of John Henry Spooner for the death of 13-year-old Darius Simmons due to his family ties with defense lawyer Franklyn Gimbel?
Wagner’s son, Benjamin, is married to Gimbel’s daughter, Rachel. The pair has a young daughter.
Is this a conflict of interest for the judge?
Wagner is presiding over the trial of John Spooner, the Milwaukee man accused of intentionally shooting and killing his unarmed 13-year-old neighbor in May 2012. Gimbel represents Spooner.
An expert on judicial ethics said there’s no doubt that Wagner should voluntarily exit the case.
“Normally, I don’t like to get involved with this stuff, but this isn’t even close,” said Frank Tuerkheimer, a University of Wisconsin-Madison emeritus law professor and former U.S. attorney.
In fact, several Milwaukee County judges and courthouse insiders are raising questions about Wagner’s decision not to recuse himself in the case, which begins its second day of testimony on Wednesday. Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel