HOUSTON – Judge Denise Collins' voluntary recusal is the latest in a series of twists in the case of Shannon Miles, the man accused of murdering Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth.
The paperwork she signed was filed with the court seven days after we reported that an investigator with the Harris County Sheriff's Office had sexual relations with a witness in the case during the police investigation. The reason for the judge's decision is not known.
KPRC legal analyst Brian Wice said the fact that she recused herself voluntarily is significant for two reasons.
"Neither side can appeal the entry of the order, and number two, because it's a voluntary recusal we'll never know why she decided to recuse herself," Wice said.
The language in the order of voluntary recusal signed by Collins is fairly straightforward and reads, in part: "To protect the public trust and confidence in our legal system and to preserve the interests of justice."
Wice said there is nothing to prevent this case from moving forward. It's been assigned to Judge Susan Brown, who presides over 185th District Court.
"If she reasonably believed there was something about this case that could call into question her impartiality, she did the right thing and she erred on the side of caution," Wice said.