CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - The State Supreme Court has removed Judge Guy Bradberry from Kevin Daigle's first-degree murder trial.
Daigle was to go to trial today in the death of State Trooper Steven Vincent, who was shot to death during a traffic stop August 23rd of 2015 and the state is seeking the death penalty.
The supreme court finds that while there has been no allegation or showing that Judge Bradberry harbors any actual bias, the circumstances require recusal as a constitutional safeguard against the risk of bias.
Lead prosecutor Rick Bryant says he's extremely disappointed, especially for Vincent's family.
"Tonight Kevin Daigle will be happy and smiling in his cell, and Katherine and her son Ethan are devastated. They're in tears, they're upset not knowing if this will ever end. It is the human element that sometimes we forget about. While the person who murdered Trooper Vincent is happy, the family is suffering immensely tonight and there's nothing I can say to help them through that," said Bryant.
The court says the record shows Bradberry had a longtime working relationship with Vincent's widow, a court employee and that she will be a witness in the penalty phase of the trial. But Bryant thinks Bradberry was fair and would have been to the end.
"Just the appearance of bias now may be sufficient to remove judges. And I think it's a bad precedent but we have to live with it and as disappointed as I am, no bias was shown by Judge Bradberry at any point and yet he's still removed? I find that very difficult to believe," said Bryant.
He says the Supreme Court ruling may mean a major delay in the case going to trial.
"The new motions obviously will be heard by a different judge and I"m sure defense will try to re-litigate this entire case. They've been successful in pulling this thing along for three years, maybe they're going to try to get three more years, who knows," said Bryant.
The Calcasieu Clerk of Court is expected to randomly allot the case to one of the remaining judges on Tuesday.
We asked the defense team to let us know if they have any comment, but have received no response..
Read the high court's ruling HERE.