NEW ORLEANS – A judge has been recused from hearing the cases against the remaining five black teens prosecuted for allegedly beating a white teen, following months of racial tensions at their school.
Judge J.P. Mauffray Jr. had been accused of making prejudicial comments about the six black teens originally involved, calling them "trouble makers" and "a violent bunch." He had insisted he could be impartial, but defense lawyers filed motions asking that he be removed.
In a ruling Friday, Judge Thomas M. Yeager found there was an appearance of impropriety against the judge.
Five teens were arrested and initially charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with a December 4, 2006, attack on fellow Jena High School student Justin Barker.
Another juvenile involved was never arrested and charged. But the group became known among civil rights activists as the "Jena Six."
The case aggravated racial tensions in the central Louisiana town, and led to a massive civil rights demonstration last September.