A judge won't step down from a criminal case despite a prosecutor's claim that the judge is too fond of the defendant -- a self-described First Amendment advocate who considers criticizing police to be his full-time job.
"The court has demonstrated, in my opinion, overt fondness for the defendant," Special Assistant Dist. Atty. Jacqueline J. Spradling told Judge Michael Malone.
Spradling said in court Wednesday that Malone was giving favorable treatment to Dale E. McCormick, who's known for videotaping police during traffic stops and, on occasion, spewing profanities at them.
Spradling is prosecuting charges that McCormick broke into an acquaintance's home earlier this year, held her against her will and begged her to be in a relationship with him.
McCormick often serves as his own attorney, and at times the judge has complimented him on his work in the courtroom, Spradling said.
Spradling's other complaints include that Malone once laughed along with McCormick's defense attorney, Joseph Johnson, and said during a recent preliminary hearing that evidence in the case was "weak."
"I'm not getting fair treatment from this court," Spradling said.
Malone said he thought McCormick had done "some very fine things" in the courtroom while representing himself, but he said he also complimented prosecutors on the job they did.
Malone said he didn't think it was wrong for him to give his opinion of the evidence during a preliminary hearing because it could help prosecutors decide what to do as the case proceeds. Other prosecutors have thanked him for similar comments, he said.
"I'm afraid that's within my judicial prerogative," Malone said.
He also noted that in the past, the defendant had claimed he couldn't get fair treatment from the judge.
"This one is a hard one because it involves both sides thinking the court's unfair," Malone said.
Malone denied Spradling's argument, saying it didn't meet the standard that required him to step down.