Wednesday, August 13, 2014

In Criminal Trial of Palestinian, Jewish Judge Recuses Himself On New Grounds

In Detroit yesterday, federal district Judge Paul Borman recused himself, sua sponte, in the criminal trial of a Palestinian woman chargged with failing to disclose to immigration officials the fact that she spent ten years in an Israeli prison for participating in two terrorist plots, one of which involved the bombing of a supermarket.  Last month Borman refused to recuse himself when his impartiality was challenged on the basis of his history of fundraising for the Detroit Jewish Federation and his organizing trips to Israel. (See prior posting.) Now, however, the prosecution furnished a translation of the Israeli indictment against defendant Rasmieh Odeh which indicated that the supermarket targeted in the bombing plot was a SuperSol. In United States v. Odeh, (ED MI, Aug. 12, 2014), Judge Borman wrote:
[A]t the time of the 1969 bombing, my family had a passive financial investment connection to SuperSol.... The Court concludes that my family’s passive financial investment connection to SuperSol at the time of the 1969 bombing could be perceived as establishing a reasonably objective inference of a lack of impartiality in the context of the issues presented in this case.
I recuse today, not because of my charitable giving or my work on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit or other charities, which I concluded in my previous Order created neither the reasonable appearance nor the fact of impartiality. My decision to recuse today is based upon facts which became known to me yesterday in review of a relevant document not previously seen by the Court....
The Chicago Sun-Times reports on the decision.