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Posted at 1:54 PM ET, 01/10/2011

Judge in Loughner hearing probably knew judge who was killed

By David Nakamura

Credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed

Lawrence O. Anderson, the magistrate judge who will preside over Jared Loughner's initial court appearance Monday, is a Phoenix native who was appointed to his role in 1998 after eight years as a Superior Court judge in Maricopa County. He was a star athlete at the University of San Francisco who suffered a severe injury that left him without the use of his legs, said Alan P. Bayham Jr., president of the Arizona Bar Association. He administers his courtroom from a wheelchair.

Anderson probably knew John Roll, the federal judge killed in the Tucson shooting, but that should not affect his ability to oversee the proceedings fairly, Bayham said.

"Judges will always recuse themselves if they think they are not able to make fair decisions," Bayham said. "But I guarantee Judge Anderson will. I guarantee [Anderson] knew him, but the chances of them being close friends are much more remote."

Loughner's initial court appearance is likely to be brief, with the charges being read and Anderson responsible for setting the terms of release. Bail is unlikely because of the seriousness of the charges, legal experts said. After an indictment is handed down, the case will be assigned to a District Court judge. Federal prosecutors have said they will ask a grand jury to issue an indictment.

But Michael Manning, a Phoenix-based civil attorney who deals regularly with federal court issues, said Loughner's defense team will probably argue that no federal judge in Arizona is without a conflict of interest, since they were all peers of Roll's. The defense could ask for a judge from another state in the 9th Circuit to be brought to Arizona to oversee a trial, said Manning, who has worked on two cases in which Arizona judges have recused themselves and been replaced by judges from other jurisdictions.

"I wouldn't be surprised if the defense says they want to have an out-of-state judge," Manning said. "It would be up to the judge who is assigned the case initially to determine if he or see has a conflict. I can't believe any [Arizona] judge in this case will not recuse him or herself."

Stephen Dichter, a Phoenix lawyer who has worked with both Roll and Anderson, said recusals by judges are not uncommon in the state. "We have visiting judges all the time - from Alaska, mostly," he said.

More from Post Politics:
-- Jared Loughner arriagnment: Live from the court house
-- Obama's Challenge: What to say
-- LIVE BLOG: The Tucson Shooting
-- U.S. sees evidence of assassination plot
-- Giffords in critical 48-hour period
-- BlogPost: DId you observe moment of silence?
-- How an event for constituents turned tragic

By David Nakamura  | January 10, 2011; 1:54 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  | Tags:  arizona shooting, jared loughner, jared loughner judge, lawrence anderson, tucson shooting  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Sarah Palin responds to Arizona shooting: 'I hate violence'
Next: Jared Loughner arraignment: Live from the court house


"Loughner's defense team will probably argue that no federal judge in Arizona is without a conflict of interest, since they were all peers of Roll's."

US Federal Judges are class acts- they will uphold the Constitutional standards of due process. I'm not sure, however, what an unfair trial looks like when the evidence is so clear and compelling - video, eyewitness accounts, etc.

Posted by: mm14 | January 10, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

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