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Ritchie recuses self from Lyons' trial to avoid appearance of impropriety

Last Modified: Tuesday, October 02, 2012 4:36 PM

By Johnathan Manning / American Press

Judge David Ritchie said he recused himself from former judge Greg Lyons’ felony theft trial to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

Lyons is on trial for 13 counts of felony theft. The state attorney general is prosecuting the case.

In 2007, Lyons was charged with stealing from clients, although the attorney general has declined to say whether those six charges are included in the 13 on which Lyons is to be tried.

He is to stand trial in the 14th Judicial District, where he served as judge for 18 years before returning to private practice in 2001.

Lyons was scheduled to go to trial Sept. 24, but Ritchie recused himself in September and the case has been reset for Feb. 4, 2013.

Although they weren’t judges at the same time, Ritchie said that it was Lyons who hired him as a law clerk and he tried several cases in Lyons’ courtroom. Ritchie was elected in 2003.

“I felt like I knew him pretty well,” Ritchie said.

Ritchie is the second judge to recuse himself from the case, following Judge Kent Savoie, who replaced Lyons as judge in 2001.

The case is now before Judge Clayton Davis.

Davis, who was elected as judge in 2009, said he does not plan to recuse himself.

“My only experience with Lyons has been on a professional level many years ago,” Davis said.

Ritchie said had all the judges agreed to have someone out of the area handle the case, the Supreme Court would have appointed an ad hoc judge.

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