OXFORD – Oxford’s town judge has recused himself from the criminal case against Steven W. Fong, the Brooklyn man from whom 76 Pomeranians were seized in October.
Oxford Town Justice John Weidman’s announcement came Monday after Fong appeared before his court to be arraigned on one additional count of animal cruelty. The added misdemeanor raised the grand total of criminal charges against the Oxford property owner to 116.
Following the arraignment, Weidman read from a prepared statement addressed to Chenango County Court Judge W. Howard Sullivan. In it, he requested the supervising judge recuse him and reassign the case to another jurisdiction.
“It is in the interest of justice, considering the personal nature of Mr. Clippinger’s appeal, that this court wishes to ensure that total confidence of the court’s impartiality be maintained in the judgement,” announced Weidman.
The judge made it clear that neither the District Attorney’s office nor the defense had requested he remove himself. Weidman said that while he felt strongly that he could rule impartially on the case, he was concerned the personal allegations made against him would give the appearance of impropriety.