Judge in Anthony Sowell Case Will Not Step Down

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CLEVELAND (WOIO) - The fireworks fly in a Cleveland courtroom Tuesday afternoon during a hearing for suspected serial killer, Anthony Sowell.

This one had to do with two judges.

Lawyers for Sowell want Judge Shirley Strickland-Saffold off the case.

In a fancy way she said she won't do it voluntarily. Strickland-Saffold said, "the court does recognize that any judicial reaction to the facts before her are not grounds for recusal."

Defense lawyers say they will fight this.

"We'll file an affidavit of prejudice an affidavit of prejudice with the Ohio Supreme Court, said defense attorney Rufus Sims.

Defense attorneys plan to go to the state Supreme Court, pointing out the Judge is suing the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The paper says comments about the case were traced to her e-mail account.

There's more.  She had a private phone chat with Judge Tim McGinty. He's the judge who leaked a psych report about Anthony Sowell. He had to come to court and explain himself.

The defense also suspicious of a note Judge McGinty sent to Judge Saffold. 19 Action News revealed that part of this story last week. The judges will only say it was personal.

"Letters to courts are personal and I see no reason to display or share it to you," said Judge Strickland-Saffold.

Prosecutors wonder if all this is a push to get the trial moved.

"It has nothing to do with the case or anything to do with the judge's ability to be fair and impartial," said Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, Pinkey Carr.

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