Jury selection in the first degree murder trial of Christopher Cope trial resumed this morning in the courtroom of Caddo District Judge Mike Pitman, after the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal overturned a district court decision to transfer the case to Judge Scott Crichton.
Pitman, who has presided over the case since Cope was arrested for the Oct. 24, 2010 killing of SPD Sgt. Tim Prunty outside a convenience store in south Shreveport, had requested the case be transferred to Crichton under Rules of Court 14.3*.
Defense attorneys asked for a hearing on the matter, which was held Monday morning in the courtroom of Caddo District Judge John Mosely. After interviewing Pitman and Crichton, Mosely decided to allow the transfer and jury selection began Monday afternoon with Crichton presiding.
Not satisfied with the ruling, Cope's defense team filed a motion for an emergency stay with the 2nd Circuit at 4:19 p.m. The 2nd Circuit judges granted the stay by order at approximately 5:45 p.m., effectively shutting down the trial until the defense team's objections can be considered.
The defense team filed their objections in writing, and just after 5 p.m. Wednesday, the 2nd circuit's three-member panel of judges released their opinion overturning the district court order allowing the transfer of the case.
The panel of judges considering the matter consisted of Appellate Judges Milton Moore, John Lolley and John Harrison.
*Rule 14.3 Transfer of Allotted Case
Any case that has been allotted may be transferred from one division to another division for good cause, or by written consent of all parties, including the state, the defense, and the court.Consent transfers shall be by written order signed by both the transferring judge and the receiving judge.
If all parties do not consent, a show cause hearing shall be held, and the burden to show cause will be upon the moving party. The hearing shall be before a judge ad hoc, selected in the manner set forth for motions to recuse under Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 675.