November 19, 2001 at 5:38 PM EST - Updated July 1 at 8:40 AM
By JOE MILICIA, Associated Press Writer
MEDINA, Ohio (AP) - A judge withdrew Monday from the resentencing of a woman convicted as a teen-ager of involuntary manslaughter in her baby's death.
The defense had accused Medina County Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler of bias against Audrey Iacona, 21. Kimbler said he could rule fairly in the case but decided to remove himself because the focus had shifted away from the defendant.
"I do not want to be the reason why attacks are made against the justice system in this county," Kimbler said.
Judge Christopher J. Collier will take over the case.
Iacona awaits resentencing Nov. 30 for her 1998 conviction of involuntary manslaughter, child endangering and abuse of a corpse for placing her newborn, Joseph Bryan Iacona-Clink, in a plastic bag after giving birth in her parents' Granger Township home.
An Ohio appeals court ordered the resentencing because Kimbler had failed to state why he imposed the maximum prison term of eight years. Iacona has spent two years in the Medina County Jail.
Last week, Iacona asked the Ohio Supreme Court to force Kimbler to leave the case.
Her attorney, Niki Schwartz, said he was troubled by comments Kimbler made at a judicial seminar about insurance law he led Oct. 12 in Middleburg Heights.
Kimbler has denied doing anything inappropriate because judges are permitted to discuss cases with other judges.
(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)