In an extraordinary maneuver, the federal appeals court in Chicago has removed a judge from an ongoing criminal trial after ruling he had made an error.

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CHICAGO — In an extraordinary maneuver, the federal appeals court in Chicago has removed a judge from an ongoing criminal trial after ruling he had made an error.

The 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals did not give an explanation in its Tuesday order, which dismissed U.S. District Judge James Holderman from the jury trial of a man facing drug charges. The court said it would follow up with an opinion.

The appellate court reverses judges all the time. But removing one in the middle of a trial may be unprecedented. His removal “is extraordinary. It really is,” said a criminal defense attorney who asked not to be named.

Holderman had refused to allow federal prosecutors to admit fingerprint evidence and testimony against the defendant, Clacy Watson Herrera. The government has accused Herrera of leading an organization that smuggled cocaine and heroin into the United States from Jamaica and Panama. Herrera denies involvement.