Wednesday, June 01, 2005

judge will not step down from benton harbor fraud case

the judge assigned to hear the criminal case against actvist REV EDWARD PINKNEY on election-fixing charges has denied a request to disqualify himself and all the judges of berrien county from this matter.

at a hearing wednesday, berrien county trial county judge alfred butzbaugh found several reason to recuse himself under court rules or on constitutional grounds. REV PINKNEY, a black man, for years has openly accused several berrien county judges of racial bias. REV PINKNEY lawyer, TAT PARISH, did not claim any actual bias that would require butzbaugh disqualification. but he claimed that all of the berrien county judges had a least the appearance of partiality and racial bias. butzbaugh said he had no legal authority to remove all berrien county judges from the case as REV PINKNEY requested.

a preliminary hearing on the criminal charges has been postponed while parish files for a review of butzbaugh decision.

REV PINKNEY is free on bond while facing four felony charges and a misdemeanor charges stemming from his alleged attempts to rig the outcome of the feb 22 election when banco, recalled city commissioner glen yarbrough. REV PINKNEY IS charged with three counts of improper possession of absentee battots and one count of attempting to influence voters. a misdemeanor charge of influencing voters with cash.