A Washington prosecutor is up in arms after an appellate judge unloaded the clip on him with accusations of racist practices. Now, he’s accused the judge of being biased and asked him to recuse himself from all criminal appeals cases.
An overturned conviction for a Black man charged based on “racial bigotry” has sparked a feud between Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell and Division III Court of Appeals Judge George Fearing. In 2019, Darnai Vaile was surrounded by over six police cars after a woman accused him of kissing her without consent, per The Spokesman-Review. Officers charged him with resisting arrest though video evidence showed him complying. Judge Fearing’s dissent called out the officers for playing further into the racial stereotypes and criminalization of Black men.
He also ordered the dismissal of Vaile’s conviction based on alleged racial bias from the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office.
Read more from Fearing’s unpublished opinion:
The prosecuting attorney’s labeling of Darnai Vaile as a dangerous Black man differentiated Vaile from the Spokane white community and likely from members of the jury. Since Cicero, rhetoric has employed the technique of “othering” others as someone outside the moral community in order to induce a negative emotional response to a category of other people.
One can argue that the conduct and remarks of the State’s attorney did not influence the jury because the jury acquitted Darnai Vaile on the assault charges. But the jury could have acquitted him on all charges without the misleading and racist comments. Because the jury presumably believed the testimony of Vaile, Patricia Murray, and other witnesses that Vaile did not assault the officers, one must wonder why the jury did not believe testimony that Vaile submitted to detention. The evidence of resisting arrest is weak when considering the jury acquitted Vaile on the charges of assault. The result suggests a compromise verdict by the jury because of racial bias against Vaile.
He didn’t stop at the criminal case y’all. Fearing went as far to cite the prosecutor’s wife who published several racist social media posts including calling MSNBC’s Joy Reid the N-word, spewing slurs at Chinese people and proclaiming herself as a proud white nationalist. According to the Spokesman, she hasn’t stopped.
In response to the quite-lengthy, scathing opinion of the prosecutor’s alleged racist practices, Haskell asked the judge to recuse himself of all criminal appeals. In the 11-page request, he argued Fearing demonstrated disdain for law enforcement, inaccurately described the facts of the case and overall showed an inability to be impartial.
“The bias and prejudice shown by Judge Fearing demonstrate that he does not care about the actual conduct or actions of an officer, deputy, prosecutor or judge in any particular case and instead is prepared to impute malice based simply on who the parties are or what color they are,” Haskell said in a letter, via The Spokesman.
Judge Fearing agreed to temporarily recuse himself from criminal appeals until this spout is resolved.