DALLAS - A judge could decide this week if Judge Tammy Kemp will preside over the contempt of court charge she has filed against Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot.
Kemp filed the charge after learning Creuzot in a FOX 4 interview that aired before the trial gave some comments about the case after the gag order was in effect.
Before the question can be settled whether Creuzot violated Kemp's gag order, it must be decided if she can sit over his case.
A private attorney hired by Creuzot to represent him says no and says Judge Kemp is biased towards the district attorney and cannot be impartial.
When Judge Kemp charged DA Creuzot with contempt of court, his office filed a motion to have her recused and removed from presiding over the case.
“You have Judge Kemp saying, ‘You can’t represent yourself, Judge Creuzot. And you are in contempt,’” explained Victor Vital, a trial lawyer not involved in the case. “And you have Judge Creuzot saying, ‘I’m not in contempt. And you can’t sit in judgment of that.”
Wichita Falls Judge Bob Brotherton will decide whether Kemp can sit in judgment.
Brian Wice is the Houston attorney hired by Creuzot after Kemp ruled that Creuzot could not use the DA's office to defend himself but had to hire his own personal lawyer. Wice wants Kemp off the case.
In a brief filed on Friday, Wice writes: "there is a pattern as troubling as it is obvious that reveals (Kemp's) bias against, and lack of impartiality towards (Creuzot) that quickly emerges from her gag order."
“The brief in support of the recusal motion builds on itself. It first says the gag order is unconstitutional and that judge Creuzot did not violate the gag order,” Vital said. “And then it goes on to say that even though he's not in contempt, if the contempt proceeding goes forward here are the reasons Judge Kemp is biased and should not hear the motion.”
Wice says Judge Kemp’s on-camera facial expressions and body language after learning of Creuzot’s comments in the interview that aired before trial clearly warranted her recusal.
Wice believes the contempt charge was unwarranted and is "persuasive evidence of her deep-seated antagonism against (Creuzot) that compels her recusal.”
Wice says Kemp’s gag order did not prevent either side from making comments about the case and just those that might impact a jury.
“And in a footnote, he kind of gigs her a little bit for vacating her gag order and then going on national media and doing a bunch of interviews herself,” Vital said.
Judge Kemp did not do those interviews until after the trial was over and the gag order was no longer in effect.