Lawyers representing St. Anthony, Minn., Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez in the shooting death of Philando Castile filed a notice to remove a black judge—Ramsey County, Minn.'s second-most-senior judge—from the case, the Star Tribune reports.
According to the report, the notice to remove Ramsey County District Court Judge Edward Wilson was filed Thursday, citing a rule of the state's criminal procedure that allows defense or prosecuting attorneys to ask for the removal of one assigned judge per case, without having to give any reason. Normally, those requests are automatically granted, the Tribune notes.
"We did our research, and based on our research, we chose to remove him," Earl Gray, one of Yanez's attorneys told the Tribune. "We felt we had to remove him. Simple as that."
The Tribune notes that Gray has tried a case before Wilson before.
Wilson's official bio on the state court's website details a lengthy résumé. He was first appointed by former Gov. Rudy Perpich and subsequently elected five times, winning his most recent election in 2012. His current term expires in Jan 2019.
He graduated with his juris doctor degree (1974) and master of legal studies, with a concentration in restorative justice (2007), from the University of Minnesota. He worked with the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis 1974-1979 and the Neighborhood Justice Center in St. Paul 1979-1987.
Professionally, he has served on the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission (1990-2002), the Supreme Court Racial Bias Task Force (1991-1993) and the St. Paul Anti-Drug Task Force (1988-1990).
On Monday, Ramsey County Chief Judge John Guthmann said that he gave Wilson the case given the judge's availability and experience. When asked if race had played a role in his decision, Guthmann refuted the suggestion.
"Judge Wilson is our second-most-senior judge," he told the Tribune.
Read more at the Star Tribune.