Web Posts Lead to Removal of Judges From Trial of Ohio Serial Killer

Anthony Sowell is evil incarnate. He stands accused of the murders of eleven Afro-American women, whose decomposing bodies were found in his Cleveland home and yard. He was originally charged with 85 counts of murder, rape and kidnapping. Added to the list now are additional charges of rape and kidnapping in respect of three women who survived Sowell’s brutality, but were afraid to go to the police because of their drug addictions. Cleveland murder investigators are now reviewing 61 cases of unsolved murders of Cleveland women.

Sowell preyed on the most vulnerable of our society: drug addicted women who were desperate to get their next fix.

But there is no reason for any surprise in Ohio, since Sowell had already served 15 years for other rapes, was registered as a dangerous sex offender and released from prison in 2005. Why these monsters are paroled is beyond me. But Canada’s track record is no better. One of the most notorious pedophiles from B.C., Robert Noyes, classified as a dangerous offender, is now in Quebec enjoying unescorted absences from prison.

But I digress. Recently the second trial judge appointed to Sowell’s trial was removed because of a series of web posts that offered her opinion on matters related to Sowell. Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold refused to recuse herself. Her defence was that her daughter, previously a law school student, had posted the comments on a shared family website.

Clearly, the perception of bias would be recognized by a child. Funny that Saffold didn’t see it that way. Not completely unexpected though. In B.C. there are dozens of cases where judges are asked to remove themselves from a trial or hearing based on an apprehension of bias. In my research several years ago, I was unable to find any case where a judge voluntarily recused. Why is that? Because the hearing for recusal is decided by the same judge that you wish to have removed.

But Saffold was not the first judge to be removed from this death penalty case. The original judge, Timothy McGinty, of his own accord, released a psychiatric report on Sowell to the same web site that Judge Saffold’s posts were sent, and he too was shown the door leading out of the courtroom. Strange judicial behavior.

With the evidence accumulated to date, I fully expect that Anthony Sowell’s next home will be death row.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

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