Alternative Dispute Resolution

Court-ordered mediation ends judge-prosecutor dispute; blanket disqualification motion is dropped

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Mediation ordered by the chief justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court has apparently resolved a dispute between a Jefferson County judge and prosecutor.

Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu Stevens and Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine met for several hours Friday, and Wine has dropped a blanket disqualification motion seeking to remove the judge from all current and future criminal cases, reports the Courier-Journal.

“The parties now have a better understanding that their words and actions can, to others, give the perception of a bias or prejudice that the individual may not intend to convey,” says a one-page agreement provided to the newspaper.

The mediation followed Wine’s request for Kentucky Supreme Court review earlier this year after Stevens dismissed a jury in November 2014 because it had no black members. As the appeal wended its way through the appellate process, Stevens explained his position in personal Facebook posts, reportedly saying at one point that Wine wanted all-white juries. Comments to the media by Wine and the blanket recusal motion followed.

As part of the mediated agreement, each man said the other is not a racist, the Courier-Journal reports.

Related coverage: “Chief justice orders mediation for top prosecutor and judge in dispute over Facebook posts”

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