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Media Alerts - In re Walter Leroy Moody, Jr.
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April 2, 2014
  In re Walter Leroy Moody, Jr.
Headline: Eleventh Circuit holds recusal is not required in a case arising out of the 1989 murder of an Eleventh Circuit judge.

Area of Law: Criminal, Recusals

Issue Presented: Whether the recusal of all the judges in the Eleventh Circuit is required in a case arising from the 1989 murder of a Eleventh Circuit judge.

Brief Summary: Mr. Moody was convicted in state court of murdering Eleventh Circuit Judge Robert S. Vance in 1989. Ultimately, Mr. Moody filed a petition for habeas corpus in federal court. Mr. Moody also petitioned to the Eleventh Circuit for a writ of mandamus to transfer the matter outside the Eleventh Circuit and moved for the recusal of all judges on the appellate court. The Eleventh Circuit denied his motion for recusal and mandamus petition.

Extended Summary: In 1989, Walter Moody mailed a series of packages containing bombs, one of which killed Judge Robert S. Vance. Mr. Moody was convicted of the murder in state court. After filing a federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus, Mr. Moody petitioned for a writ of mandamus ordering the recusal of the assigned district judge. Mr. Moody also filed a motion for recusal of all judges sitting on the Eleventh Circuit. The Eleventh Circuit denied the relief, noting that none of the panel members had a close personal or professional relationship with Judge Vance or his family and none were members of the federal judiciary at the time of the murder. The court also determined that none of the appellate judges had an interest that could be substantially affected by the outcome of Mr. Moody's case. In its reasoning, the court considered the remoteness of the interest and its extent or degree. The court also denied the request to recuse the district judge, noting that he had no close connection to Judge Vance or his relatives, was not in the federal judiciary at the time of crime, and was not part of the original investigation and prosecution.

To view opinion:

Panel: Wilson, Martin and Jordan

Date of Issued Opinion: March 12, 2014

Docket Number: 13-12657

Decided: Motion for Recusal of Panel Denied; Mandamus Petition Denied.

Case Alert Author: Henry Alvarez, Michelle Gonzalez, Colette Petrerson, Kathryn Lecusay, Maxine Meltzer, Jesse Peterson, Raphael Sanchez

Author of Opinion: Per Curiam

    Posted By: Gary Kravitz @ 04/02/2014 10:54 AM     11th Circuit  

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