The Commercial Appeal reports that Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich has recused her office from the prosecution of Noura Jackson, a defendant whose 2009 murder conviction was thrown out on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct. The DAG’s decision comes just days before Jackson’s first scheduled court appearance since she received a new trial.
Last year, the Tennessee Supreme Court unanimously found that the prosecutor in Jackson’s case, then Assistant District Attorney Weirich, violated the defendant’s right to remain silent and failed to turn over exculpatory evidence to the defense. Weirich, now District Attorney General, released an official statement to the press regarding the recusal:
“While this office has not been disqualified to proceed with the prosecution of (State vs.) Noura Jackson, I have decided to request the Tennessee District Attorney (sic) Generals (sic) Conference to appoint a Pro Tem to handle the prosecution of this case. Jennifer Jackson and her family and friends deserve to have this matter proceed in the courts without the distraction of our office’s involvement. I am making this decision in the interest of justice for Jennifer Jackson.”
The last-minute recusal led Judge Craft to postpone Jackson’s scheduled bond hearing until the District Attorneys General Conference in Nashville can select and appoint a new prosecutor to handle the case. He did so over protests by Jackson’s defense team, who called the recusal a delay tactic.
A status hearing has been set for March 13.
The recusal comes at a time when the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office is facing increased scrutiny for failing to hand over exculpatory evidence in a number of criminal cases, as well as for other alleged violations.