Tulsa County Judge James Caputo recuses himself in Robert Bates case

TULSA - Following calls to recuse himself from the Robert Bates case, Judge James Caputo did so during a hearing Friday morning.

During the status hearing, the District Attorney's office requested the recusal.

The group We the People requested the DA request the recusal.

"It's another testament of the process and the faith is being restored," said Marq Lewis of We the People.

Back in April, Robert Bates shot and killed Eric Harris when he used his gun instead of his Taser.

Bates is now charged with second degree manslaughter. Caputo was assigned the case. Then questions arose about his ability to remain impartial. Especially, after new revelations this week.

"He represented Lance Ramsey, specifically, in two divorce proceedings, that involved court proceedings. He's also a reserve deputy which he didn't disclose," said Dan Smolen, the attorney for Harris family.

Caputo was Ramsey's personal attorney eleven years ago. Meanwhile, documents show Ramsey was a witness in the shooting.

"There is no positive benefit for Judge Caputo to stay in the case because if ultimately there's a stiff punishment, with respect to Robert Bates, it's going to come back, 'Hey, you were just doing this because everybody said you were impartial'," said Smolen.

Bate's attorney, Clark Brewster says he feels the judges decision was a good one but feels Caputo's been unfairly attacked.

Brewster talked exclusively to 2 Works for You.

"I don't think there should be criticism of the judge for it because honestly he wouldn't even know who the witnesses are going to be," said Brewster.

Brewster said usually key witnesses are identified at the preliminary hearing. However, Bates waived his right to a preliminary hearing.

There's no word on when the new judge will be appointed in the Bates' case.


Former Tulsa County reserve deputy Robert Bates, 73, pleaded not guilty earlier this year. He is charged with second-degree manslaughter in the April 2 death of Eric Harris.



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