I am going to post this in two parts: The first part here will be regarding the dismissal hearing, the second part will be our interactions with the courthouse, Yuma PD and the Border Patrol -- which had nothing to do with Steven Anderson, except we were there to observe his case. I had wanted to get some quotes but nobody's talking. I hope to get some more specific info on the hearing and post as an update since the hearing was videotaped by the court. I am waiting for the video from the hearing to arrive from the court.
Background: Pastor Steven Anderson exercised his Rights back in April at an unlawful permanent federal government internal security checkpoint in April and was electrocuted, beaten up and arrested for his trouble. He had a hearing in Yuma to dismiss his two charges -- failure to obey and apparently stopping his car at a federal law enforcement roadblock (which is a felony if you don't stop) -- which was quite illuminating.
The trial was originally to be held at the Justice Court in the town of Wellton near where the arrest took place. But the judge, Cora Romine, had recused herself in June for reasons not stated. That presumably meant she believed that she could not be impartial or that there were circumstances that could make it appear that she might not be impartial or for any other reason she could not handle this case. So she did the honorable and ethical act and withdrew from the case. [My speculation: While the reasons are unknown, presumably she either has a family member who was or is in the Border Patrol, or whom was affected by the checkpoints. She does not know Pastor Anderson. But there are many other reasons for a judge to recuse themselves from a particular case.]
Case #: J-1403-MS-2009000009
Case #: J-1401-MS-200900179
The prosecutor had also filed a form 10.2 the prior week requesting a different judge than had been re-assigned to the case --- which was presiding Judge David F. Cooper. Judge Cooper agreed to the request and Judge Torok was now assigned to the case.
The prosecutor objected to the case number -- which was in error -- in order to get a continuance. Judge Cooper who was sitting in the audience interjected as a friend of the court, what the correct case number should be.
The prosecutor sought a special action to delay the hearing which was denied.
The prosecutor tried for a continuance to September by objecting that Judge Torok had not studied the case and the arguments well enough to understand and rule on a dismissal hearing. Marc Victor countered that he and the defendant had traveled a good distance to be here for this scheduled hearing as well as the five Border Patrol officers and were prepared for the hearing to go into the afternoon. He suggested the dismissal documents were not that long and she could break for now to study them and come back later in the afternoon to continue. When Judge Torok said she already had items on her calender that afternoon, Judge Cooper offered as a friend of the court to take her calender for the afternoon so they could have the hearing.
So the hearing was scheduled for 1PM.
The prosecutor filed a form 10.1 petition nine minutes before the hearing would resume for Judge Torok to be removed from the case for cause. Reason: Because Judge Cooper was orchestrating from the back of the courtroom. Mr. Katz so certified under affidavit. Since he has accused a judge of impropriety, or at least of losing control of her courtroom, she needs to get a non-involved judge to rule on the matter.