Rooney attempts to remove judge for bias

April marks a year and a half since the disappearance and death of UVM student Michelle Gardner-Quinn. Since the immediate arrest of prime murder suspect Brian Rooney there have been many roadblocks in this high-profile case.Earlier this month, the pre-trial was moved from the Chittenden District Courthouse to Rutland in order to avoid local bias. On April 4, Rooney appeared before Judge Michael Kupersmith arguing the merit of his court-assigned criminal attorney David Sleigh. Most recently though Rooney wrote a letter requesting that Judge Kupersmith be removed from the case because of bias. In his two-page letter addressed to Kupersmith, Rooney listed several grievances.”You wouldn’t allow a new attorney time to prepare for trial and that I would be stuck with that new attorney and you didn’t recommend that I get a new attorney….”In addition, Rooney argued against Kupersmith’s previous ruling on a suppression motion regarding Rooney’s statements to investigators prior to being arrested. “You [Kupersmith] made assumptions about my willingness to talk to law enforcement and that I felt free to come and go as I wished. These assumptions are false!” Rooney said. Rooney also addressed Kupersmith’s decision to include the majority of a polygraph interview as evidence. “Your order to suppress only the part of the Pre polygraph interview recording is unjustified and is only suppressed because it shows that I wasn’t able to leave as I wished and that my rights where violated by law enforcement,” Rooney said. Students’ response to this most recent delay in the proceedings of the criminal trial is very mixed. Senior Sean Thomas felt that this delay was to be expected in a case of this nature. ” It doesn’t really sound that unusual as far as high profile cases go.”However, Sophomore Lindsey Weger said that she is outraged by Rooney’s complaints: “I think it’s bullshit…it makes me feel awful, I can only imagine how her [Michelle Gardner-Quinn] family feels,” she said.Since issuing this letter on April 11th, administrative Judge Amy Davenport rejected Rooney’s pleas to have Judge Kupersmith removed from the case. According to the Burlington Free Press, Davenport released a letter which stated, “To show bias, a litigant must show that an adverse ruling was improperly motivated.” Currently Rooney is being held without bail at the Northwest State Correctional Facility in St. Albans. Jury selection for the criminal trial of Brian Rooney is set to begin May 13 at the Rutland courthouse.