Arizona’s complete federal judiciary is considering stepping aside from involvement in the murder trial of accused murderer Jared Loughner, to avoid possible conflicts of interest.
Chief District Judge John M. Roll was shot fatally in a rampage Saturday that apparently targeted Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. Loughner was charged in a federal complaint with attempting to assassinate Giffords and killing Judge Roll and a Giffords staff member.
Federal judges in the Tucson division disqualified themselves before a court appearance by Loughner Monday, according to a USA Today article. “We are awaiting official word from the court’s Phoenix division regarding recusal of the judges there,” said David Madden, assistant circuit executive for the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Loughner lawyer Judy Clarke signaled intention to question the impartiality of both federal judges and prosecutors in Arizona.
“There is great concern with proceeding any further than today with Arizona judges,” Clarke told a federal magistrate.
President Obama was to attend a memorial service in Tucson for victims of the mass shooting later Wednesday. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was among those expected to attend. In Washington, members of the House of Representatives convened to honor the victims, the New York Times reported.