Trials & Litigation

Lawyer Blasted by Ky. Judge Who Called Case 'Ridiculous,' Client a 'Carcass' Now Seeks His Removal


A lawyer who was blasted by a senior Kentucky judge during a videotaped hearing that has generated much comment from observers has now filed a removal motion seeking a new jurist to oversee his client’s motion for a new trial in a capital murder case.

“It is my opinion that throughout the proceeding, Judge [Martin] McDonald expressed his personal disgust and disdain for me and made clear he harbors a bias towards me and my client,” said attorney David Barron in a motion and affidavit he filed Monday. The filing asks state Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr. to take McDonald off the Jefferson Circuit Court case, the Courier-Journal reports. Barron is seeking a new trial for death-row inmate Roger Dale Epperson, contending that his trial counsel was ineffective.

As detailed in an earlier ABAJournal.com post, which also links to the video of McDonald’s in-court criticism on Sept. 28 of Barron, his case and his client, the judge disparaged Barron as a “backseat driver” who wasn’t a “real” trial lawyer, called his case “ridiculous” and said he was “making a mountain out of a molehill.” Among other criticism, the judge also blistered the lawyer for calling him on his cellphone, although Barron tried to explain that he had done so at the court’s direction, with permission of opposing counsel, to discuss a scheduling matter.

The judge also called Barron’s client, Roger Dale Epperson, a “carcass” and spoke to him directly at a couple of points during the hearing.

A spokeswoman for the state attorney general’s office said it is reviewing the removal motion and hasn’t yet decided if it will be opposed.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “See the Video: Angry Judge Blasts ‘Backseat Driver’ Appellate Counsel in High-Profile Murder Case”

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