Judge Aquilina Denies Request to Remove Herself from Larry Nassar's Case
Photo by Kayleigh Garrison.
LANSING - Larry Nassar's request for Ingham County Judge Rosemarie Aquilina to recuse herself from his case was denied on Aug. 3, 2018 in an Ingham County courtroom.
Two motions were filed by Nassar's attorneys on July 25, 2018, with one motion requesting that Judge Aquilina disqualify herself from Nassar's case due to "biased" and "impartial" behavior and the second motion requesting a resentencing.
"The appearance for impropriety has been broken," Nassar's attorney Malaika Ramsey-Heath said. "[The case law] makes clear that there are bounds about what can be said in terms of personal views or personal attacks upon a defendant or a defendant's character. That is the situation that Dr. Nassar finds himself in. If this court does not recuse itself will happen before a judge, who has expressed unending support of the victims, who has expressed desire to impose a harsher sentence than was even imposed in the case."
Chief Deputy Attorney General Laura Moody rebutted this statement by discussing comments the court made prior to Nassar's plea.
"This court's own statements indicated it had no bias as we were proceeding through this process," Moody said. "This court understands the distinction between how you engage before a defendant before you convict it and and how you can appropriately engage and reflect the community's conscience after."
Ramsey-Heath also wrote about the positive things people have done for Judge Aquilina, like tweeting at her and wearing t-shirts with her name on them, but Judge Aquilina said Ramsey-Heath failed to mention the negative impact of taking this case, including negative comments made about her by another judge and other people who have been following this case. She also discussed the process of trademarking her name and held up a binder filled with media requests she has denied, therefore proving she was in no way biased or impartial during Nassar's sentencing.
"I have not crossed any boundaries," Judge Aquilina said. "My statements were made out of clear frustration, perhaps inartful - not biased in the way defense suggests. I followed the law, I followed the rules. The sentence was fair. The math doesn't lie. It was done with a logical basic. There's nothing I've done that prejudices me on this case. Should this case come back to me, I will retain it and correct any error I have made."
Since Judge Aquilina denied Nassar's request, it will now move on to Ingham County Chief Judge Richard Garcia, who will review the request and the hearing and decide whether or not Judge Aquilina showed biased judgement.