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HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston judge has been removed from overseeing the appeal of a black death row prisoner because of prior racially charged comments the jurist made about black defendants.

District court Judge Michael McSpadden was removed earlier this month from the case involving George Curry, who was sentenced to die in 2009 for the death of a teenager during a restaurant robbery.

The Houston Chronicle reports that defense attorneys in March had asked McSpadden to recuse himself, but he refused. A judge was called in to hear the dispute and he determined McSpadden, who is white, should be removed.

Harris County prosecutors did not oppose McSpadden’s removal.

He came under fire earlier this year by saying, among other things, that young black defendants were getting bad advice from “rag-tag organizations like Black Lives Matter.”


Information from: Houston Chronicle,