It will not be a Monroe County judge who tries the case of Vauhxx Booker, a former Bloomington resident who two and a half weeks ago was charged by special prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp with battery and criminal trespass.
On Tuesday afternoon at a scheduled hearing, Monroe County circuit court judge Valeri Haughton announced that she would be recusing herself from the case.
Leerkamp was appointed to handle the charges of Booker’s two alleged assailants, which include battery and criminal confinement. She charged Booker, after a restorative justice process did not come to a successful resolution.
One of Leerkamp’s court filings pegged the timeframe for the collapse of the restorative justice process as exactly a year after the incident: “on or about July 4, 2021.”
The charges against all three men arose in connection with an incident that took place a year ago on July 4, near Lake Monroe. Booker described it as an “attempted lynching.”
A back-and-forth between Haughton and Booker’s attorney, Katherine Liell, drew out the fact that all the other Monroe County judges had also recused themselves.
That means it will be the Indiana Supreme Court that decides which judge will hear Booker’s case. Tuesday’s hearing could have been the occasion of the initial hearing, when Booker would have offered a plea.
That will now wait until it is determined who the judge will be.