(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- After the federal judges of the Arizona district court -- all colleagues of Judge John Roll -- recused themselves from hearing U.S. v. Jared Lee Loughner, the chief judge of the 9th Circuit appointed U.S. District Court Judge Larry A. Burns to hear the case.
Burns, 56, currently sits in California and was nominated to the bench by George W. Bush in May 2003. Before then, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney in California and a deputy district attorney. He is a California native and is perhaps best known for presiding over the bribery case of Rep. Randy Duke Cunningham.
Burns also handled the prosecution and sentencing of Javier Arellano-Felix, head of the notorious Arellano-Felix drug cartel, on murder, drug trafficking and RICO charges; and a challenge to the presence of a Latin cross on Mount Soledad in La Jolla, Calif.
No decision has been made on whether the case will be moved from Arizona. Loughner can file a motion on change of venue arguing that such a great prejudice exists against him that he cannot receive a fair trial in Arizona. The court then can transfer the proceeding to another district convenient to the parties, victims and witnesses. The motion can be made at or before arraignment.
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