Mediation agreement reached between Judge Olu Stevens and Common - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Mediation agreement reached between Judge Olu Stevens and Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A mediation agreement was reached Friday evening between Jefferson Circuit Judge Olu A. Stevens and Jefferson Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine, according to Leigh Anne Hiatt, a spokeswoman for the Administrative Office of the Courts.

It is expected that Judge Stevens will return to the bench the week of Dec. 7, according to Hiatt.

Read Mediation Agreement

"Tom was glad that he was able to participate in the mediation. He looks forward to both parties complying with their obligations under the agreement," said Jeff Cooke, a spokesperson for the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office.

Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton ordered Judge Stevens and Wine to go to mediation to try and work out issues the two had over Wine's claim the judge has shown bias against him in Facebook postings.

Earlier this month, Wine requested Minton to remove Stevens from all of his criminal cases, arguing he had shown he was unable to be impartial to prosecutors since he insinuated Wine was racist and wanted "all-white juries."

Minton ordered that the mediation had to occur by Saturday and the results reported to the chief justice.

Both Wine and Stevens acknowledged the other was not a racist. Stevens wants to clarify that his Facebook posts weren't meant to be personal. Judge Stevens has not removed his Facebook posts, including one that said Wine would live in "infamy."

Stevens "recognizes that Tom Wine does not want all-white juries," according to the agreed order.

"In the interest of avoiding systemic disruption and, more importantly, of restoring confidence in the fair and impartial administration of justice," Minton said in regards to ordering mediation.

It was unclear if Stevens could continue handling criminal cases before the mediation, but he did postpone his dockets the last few weeks.

The mediators involved in the case were Justice Martin Johnstone (Ret.), Raoul Cunningham, Hon. J. Michael Brown and Judge Steve Mershon (Ret.) according to official court records. The mediators' names were not released until after an agreement was reached. They were not paid.

[READ THE ORDER]

Earlier this month, Minton removed Stevens from two cases after the judge had refused requests to step aside. Minton ruled prosecutors had "demonstrated disqualifying circumstances that require the appointment of a special judge."

In his order, Minton noted that there are "similarly disqualifying circumstances" in Wine's latest motion, but said it would be "highly disruptive" for the "justice system as a whole" to remove Stevens from criminal cases.

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