The Caddo Parish District Attorney’s motion to recuse one juvenile court judge was granted this week by another judge in that court.
In proceedings Thursday, March 7, 2019 concerning now-14-year-old defendant “E.C.” in connection with the December 1, 2018 slaying of Tawfik Gawbah (also spelled as Gawbahy in some records), Caddo Parish Juvenile Court Judge Ree Casey-Jones recused fellow Judge Paul Young and maintained a trial date of March 13, 2019 for the defendant.
Gawbah’s badly burned body was found by firefighters dispatched to the 3100 block of Murphy Street at Alabama Avenue after reports of a brush fire. After Gawbah was determined to be the decedent, police arrested two women, then aged 13 and 20, in connection with the slaying. The older female will be tried as an adult and her case is pending review by the Grand Jury.
The motion to recuse was declined to be heard last week by Caddo Parish Chief Juvenile Judge David Matlock, who cited both his friendship with Judge Young and that he does not hear criminal matters. This followed Judge Young’s denial of the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s office motion to continue the trial for one month in order to allow law enforcement investigators to finish compiling forensic evidence, cell phones and witnesses, for the trial. Under Louisiana law, juvenile court trials must commence no later than 60 days after arraignment. Judge Young stated he found “no good cause” for the continuance, as allowed by state law, and reasoned that new evidence gathered could just come into trial as the trial progressed. Also at issue was an attempt by the juvenile defendant to enter a guilty plea that fell apart during the colloquy with the court.
Judge Young was reversed by the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal and trial was continued to March 13, 2019. Judge Casey-Jones will hear the case.
At Thursday’s hearing, Judge Young testified against the recusal and even filed his own evidence into the record.
In her ruling, Judge Casey-Jones determined sufficient potential bias was shown to warrant the recusal.
Tommy Johnson prosecuted the Motion for Recusal on behalf of the Caddo Parish district attorney. Sarah Smith was the Public Defender.Caddo DA’s motion to recuse Juvenile Court murder case granted