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Judge appoints self to 'baby kate' trial after dismissing case; prosecutors appeal

Mlive reports. The Michigan Attorney General's office and the Mason County prosecutor have appealed a recent decision by Mason County 79th District Judge Peter Wadel - also the chief judge of all of Mason County courts.

Last year, acting as a district judge, Wadel heard the Phillips murder case in a preliminary examination and dismissed the case. Circuit Judge Richard I. Cooper (since retired) in December overturned Wadel's decision and ordered that the murder case go to trial. Then Wadel, acting as chief judge of Mason County's 51st Circuit Court, appointed himself the trial judge, according to a brief filed by prosecutors Pendergast and Spaniola.

The prosecutors argue that Wadel acting as trial judge would create an "appearance of impropriety" because as district judge had already ruled on the same issues that would arise in the trial.

 

 

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