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Cleveland County judge refuses to disqualify self from criminal cases

A Cleveland County judge Thursday took less than a minute to deny a motion from prosecutors that he disqualify himself from hearing any of their cases.

BY JANE GLENN CANNON Published: April 1, 2011
/articleid/3554316/1/pictures/1387718">Photo - District Judge Tom Lucas
District Judge Tom Lucas

The judge initially sentenced Trask to life in prison based on a recommendation from the jury that convicted him.

At the time, Mashburn expressed anger over what he called the judge’s “reversal” and said he had never heard of a judge substituting his judgment for a jury’s decision.

Mashburn was not in court Thursday.

After the brief hearing, Brockman said he couldn’t comment since the motion was sealed, but added: “We are just doing what we think we have to do to protect the people of Cleveland County.”

Arnold’s attorney, Elton Jenkins, said the motion had little to do with the case against his client.

“They were just using it as a way to argue for the judge’s disqualification in all cases,” Jenkins said.

The law requires that a judge recuse on a case-by-case basis, he said.

“I don’t see a basis for the motion,” he said.

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