The judge who presided over the first McMartin Pre-School molestation trial has been removed from the case by another judge who ruled that his post-acquittal talk show appearances might cause a conflict of interest at a second trial. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Hoff ruled Wednesday that Judge William Pounders was not prejudiced against the defense _ as the attorney for Raymond Buckey had claimed _ but that Pounders' media appearances would make it difficult for him to question potential jurors.
Hoff recommended that another judge be assigned to the case.
"I feel relief," Pounders told reporters. "It was never my desire to be on the case."
Buckey, 31, is scheduled to be retried starting March 9 on 13 charges of child molestation on which the original jury deadlocked.
He and his mother, Peggy McMartin Buckey, 63, were acquitted last month of 52 similar charges.