Bynum’s Attorney Seeks Judge’s Recusal

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On June 7, Shannon Foster, attorney for defendant James Bynum, made a motion for consideration of recusal. Foster alleges that sitting Judge Jerry Don Ramey has shown bias against Bynum and that he should recuse himself from the case.

Based on that motion, Foster claims “his (Bynum’s) health needs are causing considerable expense and manpower issues at the jail…yet the court refuses to reduce his bond or allow him to be released on a restricted electronic monitoring where he could be restricted to his home, court or his doctors. The defendant’s attorney requested a continuance from the July trial, as she was just allowed to substitute in on his case May 15, 2019. The prosecutor had no objection to the continuance, but the judge refused to allow it. Keeping the defendant in jail limits his attorney’s access to the defendant in trying to prepare for this complex case at the end of July, which is a very short time to prepare. Also, the defendant’s attorney is a solo practitioner, and this puts the burden on her to travel to the jail (one hour round trip) for all preparatory meetings rather than allowing the defendant to come to her office. The judge stated that the defendant “looked pretty good, and is able to stand and move around” and thus disregarded his health issues based on his subjective observations that he looked better now than he had in the past. This is not proper, as the judge is not a medical expert and his dismissal of the defendant’s health issues is reckless based on the defendant’s recent hospitalizations…It is unlikely that the judge can be unbiased in the second trial of this matter, having heard all the evidence in the first trial, and his rulings on the bond and continuance motions seem to indicate bias against the defendant. The defendant is innocent until proven guilty, and the judge is acting as if he were guilty before the new trial and treating him accordingly even though it is jeopardizing his health and his attorney’s ability to defend him.”

Foster stated because of these reasons, the judge should disqualify himself in the proceeding. The trial in this case is set for July 29, 30 and 31.

Bynum, who was convicted in 2015, was found guilty of 10 counts of sexual assault in the fourth degree, a class D Felony and two counts of sexual assault in the second degree, a class B felony. After finding Bynum guilty, the jury handed down a 100 year sentence. The State Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case back to the circuit court. –See related story

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Tammy Teague

Tammy Teague

Mansfield native, with roots in Scott County. Daughter, sister, wife and Christian. Education: 1995 MHS graduate; 1999 Arkansas Tech University Graduate - BA in Journalism. Career: Managing Editor - The Citizen; Copy Writer - Southwest Times Record; 20+ years experience in the news.

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