WHEELING - The West Virginia Supreme Court on Thursday denied Robert McCoid's motion to have Senior Status Judge Arthur Recht removed from the case of Matthew Kotson, saying McCoid provided insufficient evidence to show Recht has exhibited bias against the former Wheeling police officer.
McCoid filed the motion in Ohio County Circuit Court on Monday, stating Recht's recent statements had called his impartiality into question and that Kotson was terrified at the prospect of being tried before the judge on sexual offenses.
McCoid cited Recht's fervent chiding of Special Prosecutor David F. Cross' decision to dismiss one of the charges against Kotson as evidence of the judge's opinion that the former police officer was guilty. The defense attorney also asserted various comments Recht knowingly voiced in front of the media and their subsequent coverage has impeded the selection of an unbiased jury.
In his response filed Tuesday, Recht said McCoid's motion to disqualify him came as a surprise and any perceived partiality could not be "farther from the truth." He noted, despite a single indictment against Kotson, he severed the counts and granted the former police officer four separate trials "to avoid the hint of any unfair prejudice."
Recht went on to say he ruled portions of alleged victims' testimony would be excluded from Kotson's upcoming Sept. 4 trial because the statements were unfairly prejudicial against the defendant.
Recht "for the past 20 years has, and will continue to, provided a fair trial for every defendant," the motion states, and Kotson's case is "certainly no exception."