A Black man is claiming victory after he was granted a new trial due to a judge’s racist comments.
Leron Liggins’ conviction on two drug charges was tossed in early August after a panel of three judges from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously agreed in an opinion that U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy III’s comment violated Liggins’ right to due process, NBC News reported.
“What do you want me to do? This guy looks like a criminal to me,” Murphy said on the record.
“This is what criminals do. This isn’t what innocent people who want a fair trial do.”
After the comment, Liggins filed a motion for Murphy to be recused the day before his trial. Murphy even apologized for his remarks, claiming he “lost his head” but that it wouldn’t stop him from being fair in his ruling. However, the panel of judges disagreed and said Murphy should have recused himself. In his defense, prosecutors said the remarks were about the case and had nothing to do with Liggins’ race, but the judges also ruled against that.
“Even if one were to assume a lack of racial bias on the part of the district judge, the remark nevertheless raises the specter of such bias. …,” the opinion read.
“Beyond this remark, the district judge’s other remarks could be understood to demonstrate clear prejudgment of Liggins’ guilt.”
RELATED CONTENT: Defense Team For Carlos Watson Asks Judge To Dismiss Fraud Charges, Claiming Racial Bias
Source: Black Enterprise