The second most senior judge – Ramsey County District Court Judge Edward Wilson – has been removed from the trial of St. Anthony, Minn. police officer Jeronimo Yanez, who shot and killed Philando Castile in July. Judge Wilson, who was originally assigned to the case specifically because of his experience, happens to be black.
According to a rule of Minnesota criminal procedure, defense or prosecuting attorneys are allowed to ask for the removal of a judge from a trial once without giving any explanation as to why. This tactic was quietly used this past week but Yanez’s attorneys, in accordance with the law, do not have to give any explanation as to why they wanted Wilson removed.
“We did our research, and based on our research, we chose to remove him,” said Earl Gray, one of Yanez’s three attorneys, to The Minnesota StarTribune. “We felt that we had to remove him. Simple as that.”
Technically, Gray isn’t required to delve any deeper into the legal team’s reasoning and likely never will. But many still noticed that it’s quite peculiar to see the second most senior judge in the entire county removed from the trial with no real explanation. The lack of which only makes one wonder if race played a factor.
We will update this story as more news develops.