Attorneys representing St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile filed a notice to remove Ramsey County's second most senior judge from presiding over the case.
The notice to remove Ramsey County District Court Judge Edward Wilson, filed Thursday, cited a rule of Minnesota criminal procedure that allows defense or prosecuting attorneys to ask for the removal of one assigned judge per case without citing a reason. Such requests are automatically granted.
"We did our research, and based on our research, we chose to remove him," said one of Yanez's three attorneys, Earl Gray. "We felt that we had to remove him. Simple as that."
Gray, who has previously tried a case before Wilson, declined to elaborate.
According to Wilson's biography on the state courts website, he was appointed by Gov. Rudy Perpich in 1987 and was subsequently elected five times. His current term expires in January 2019.
Wilson, who is black, is a graduate of Macalester College and the University of Minnesota Law School. He has previously worked for the Neighborhood Justice Center and the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis.
Ramsey County Chief Judge John Guthmann said Monday that he assigned Wilson to the case because of the judge's availability and experience. Asked if race was a factor, Guthmann said it didn't play a role in his decision.
"Judge Wilson is our second most senior judge," Guthmann said at the time.
Yanez, 28, was charged Nov. 16 in Ramsey County with second-degree manslaughter and two felony counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm in the fatal shooting of Castile, 32, during a July 6 traffic stop in Falcon Heights.