State ex rel. Lewis v. Honorable Kurt W. Hall (Signed Opinion)Annotate this Case
The Supreme Court denied the writ of prohibition sought by Petitioner to have the Supreme Court disqualify the Honorable Kurt W. Hall, Judge of the Circuit Court of Upshur County, from presiding over his criminal trial, holding that Judge Hall was not required to recuse himself because the prosecutor intended to call the court clerk as a witness.
Petitioner was charged with the felony offense of failure to appear arising from Petitioner’s failure to make an appearance at a pretrial hearing in a previous felony criminal proceeding in which he was the defendant. In preparation for the failure to appear charge, the prosecutor filed a witness list that included the clerk of the circuit court. The prosecutor intended the clerk of court to authenticate records from the prior criminal case. Petitioner moved to recuse Judge Hall because the clerk was going to testify at the trial. Judge Hall denied the motion. Petitioner then filed the instant petition challenging the denial of his recusal motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Judge Hall was not required to recuse himself under the circumstances of this case; and (2) there is no per se disqualification of a presiding judge when the clerk of court is called to testify for the prosecution’s case-in-chief.