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Badge & Bar: Judge recusal denied in taxi driver slaying case
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The motion to have a judge removed from a five-defendant murder case because of an email sent to Drug Court participants was denied July 9.

Misty Sunshine Moran, 39, Margarita Jean Leanos, 28, Nicholas Allen Gonzalez, 24, Justin John Adams, 22, and Ignacio Mondragon, 21, face charges of felony murder in connection with the death of Isaias Tovar-Murillo on March 15.

Tovar-Murillo drove a cab for Taxi El Palmar. Investigators said they believed it was a planned robbery, and all five have pleaded not guilty.

Moran and her attorney C. David Turk III sought to have Superior Court Judge Jason Deal disqualified from the case regarding an email sent to all members of Deal’s Drug Court.

The email “bragged” on a participant who had moved out of Moran’s home and discussed the allegations facing Moran.
Moran and Turk stated in court documents that Deal’s knowledge of the woman in the Drug Court email would “call the Court’s objectivity into question.”

“In the present case, the Court finds that counsel for Defendant’s affidavit and evidence fails to show Judge Deal’s bent of mind toward the parties, the case, or the potential witness that may prevent or impede impartiality of judgment,” according to the order signed by Superior Court Judge Andrew Fuller.

Graduation next week for inmates working for high school diplomas
Tassels will turn July 23 at Lee Arrendale State Prison for inmates working toward their high school diplomas.

The program for inmates at the Alto correctional facility provided instructional opportunities for offenders to finish their high school education.

Forty-five were enrolled in the inaugural program in March with one official graduate. The program is a partnership between the Georgia Department of Corrections and the Mountain Education Charter School.


Nick Watson covers public safety issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him:

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