Seminole Circuit Judge Jessica Recksiedler has recused herself from the George Zimmerman case today after explaining that her husband works with CNN legal analyst Mark NeJame. Zimmerman had asked NeJame to represent him. As NeJame explained, Zimmerman “contacted my office, attempting to reach me, and wanted to hire me to represent him” as of March 13, 2012.
While Recksiedler wrote in her decision regarding recusal that the basis for such a recusal was “legally insufficient,” under the totality of the circumstances, she should step aside.
As Jeff Shapiro explained earlier this morning, under Florida law, “all a person needs to show in a recusal motion is a reasonable belief that the judge might not be fair.” In a case of this sensitivity, it is likely true that Recksiedler simply wants to avoid all appearances of possible impropriety.
Meanwhile, CNN and other media outlets asked the judge to unseal records in the Zimmerman prosecution. That media conflict alone creates problems for the judge. And CNN’s blatant attempts to bias the case against Zimmerman certainly should play a role in any recusal decision.