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News: TCSO Reserve Deputy Shooting Controversy

Tulsa Judge Recuses Himself From Bob Bates Case

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Bob Bates Bob Bates
TULSA, Oklahoma -

A Tulsa judge has recused himself in the case involving a former Tulsa County reserve deputy charged with second-degree manslaughter.  

Judge James Caputo announced his decision on Friday morning after the Tulsa County District Attorney's office and an activist group asked him to step aside. 

Former reserve deputy Bob Bates is supposed to go on trial in February 2016 in the shooting of Eric Harris, who died during an undercover gun sting.

Caputo was under scrutiny over his relationship with the sheriff's office and with some of those on the witness list. He held a conference in his chambers on Friday with attorneys from both sides and came out to announce the decision to recuse himself.  

On Thursday, News On 6 partner The Frontier published an in-depth story about the relationship between Caputo and TCSO.

10/29/2015 Related Story: Possible Conflicts Of Interest For Tulsa Judge In Bob Bates Case  

Attorneys were concerned about the fact that Caputo served as a reserve deputy for the sheriff's office at the same time as Bates, and his relationship to some witnesses in the case. Court records show Caputo served as a divorce attorney for one of the deputies who headed up the undercover gun sting.  

We The People Oklahoma, a grassroots activist group that called for the ouster of Sheriff Stanley Glanz, who has since announced his retirement, says it is happy with the judge's decision. 

DA Steve Kunzweiler said he believes Caputo would have been fair, but says it is best that he stepped aside in light of the public's concern in this high-profile case.

"So with all the scrutiny that this case has had, I want to honor Judge Caputo for the decision that he made," Kunzweiler said.

Tulsa County DA Office news release

A new judge has not been selected. 

TCSO Reserve Deputy Shooting Controversy

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