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Judge in sniper trial recuses himself over speedy trial probe

[JURIST] The judge presiding over the second trial of convicted sniper John Allen Muhammad has recused himself from the trial after claims that his inquiry into whether the trial had unfairly been delayed was improper, it was announced Tuesday. Judge Jonathan C. Thacher, of the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia, said he did not feel his actions were improper, but that he would step down to keep the focus on the trial itself.

Muhammad's trial had already been pushed back until January 2005, but Thacher's recusal could further delay proceedings. Prosecutors in the case filed a motion to recuse [PDF] after Thacher conducted his own probe into whether Muhammad's right to a speedy trial had been violated. Background and related documents in the case are available here. AP has more.

Previously in JURIST's Paper Chase....

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