Earlier this month, District Judge Rick Kennon filed a motion to hold Duty in contempt of court, accusing her of violating a gag order in the capital murder case against Crispin Harmel when she spoke to a news reporter about allegations she withheld evidence from Harmel’s defense attorneys.
Assistant District Attorney Brent Webster filed the petition for Writ of Mandamus on behalf of Duty, stating the gag order is “unconstitutional” and “the court abused its discretion” and requested relief from the contempt of court proceedings.
However the 3rd Court of Appeals denied the petition and also dismissed the request for relief as moot.
The contempt of court hearing is set for July 6.
Judge says he doesn’t have authority to disqualify Duty
An attempt to remove the Jana Duty from the murder case was also denied Friday in court.
Defense attorneys for Harmel filed a motion this week to disqualify Duty from prosecuting the case against Harmel, who is awaiting a second trial for allegedly killing Jessika Kalaher in 2009. A mistrial was declared the first time around, after Duty allegedly withheld video evidence.
After hearing testimony, District Court Judge Rick Kennon said he does not believe he has the authority to disqualify an elected district attorney from prosecuting a case and denied the motion.