Judge recuses himself from VanDeusen re-trial

NORWICH – County Court Judge Howard Sullivan recused himself last weeke from the murder retrial of Tammi L. Van Deusen. The order stated, “this court found no instances of documented prejudice.” Sullivan said that his responsibilities as County Court Judge could be better served “handling 10 to 15 other cases on the trial calendar that require a shorter time commitment.”

The original motion to have the judge excused was denied; however a second request by Van Deusen’s attorney Randel Scharf caused the court to reconsider. Scharf said the court may have been biased during its sentencing. The order stated, “This court now questions whether it, in fact, invested too much energy in effecting an outcome, even to the extent that it could have prejudiced subsequent rulings. A judge’s role in plea bargaining is that of an independent evaluator, not of an advocate.”

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