Defense accuses judge in Cleveland bodies case of bias - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Defense accuses judge in Cleveland bodies case of bias

CLEVELAND (AP) - The defense for a Cleveland man charged with killing 11 women whose remains were found at his house has asked the trial judge to step because comments about crimes against women were posted from her e-mail account to a newspaper forum.

Attorneys for Anthony Sowell, in a motion filed late Friday, cited anonymous postings from the personal e-mail account of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold. Sowell's lawyers argued that the comments show bias or, if they were made by someone else, as the judge has said, the appearance of bias.

One comment posted to the Web site of The Plain Dealer newspaper lumped Sowell with a man who killed his fiancee and another man who killed his wife with cyanide.

"All of these criminals committing crimes against women must stop," it said. "None of them should get out of prison, EVER."

The judge's daughter, 23-year-old Sydney Saffold, told the newspaper that she posted the comments under the username "lawmiss" using her mother's e-mail account.

The motion filed by Sowell's lawyers brought no immediate response from the judge. A message seeking comment was left Monday at the office of the judge, who planned an afternoon hearing on the request to step down.

Saffold admitted to the newspaper that the e-mail account linked to "lawmiss" is hers, but said she would never make comments about in-progress court cases.

Sowell, 50, has pleaded not guilty in the 11 killings.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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