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Judge Refuses To Step Down After Ashley & Wynonna Judd Accuse Him Of Being Biased In Fight Over Their Mom Naomi’s Death Records

Radar Online logo Radar Online 11/29/2022 Radar Online
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Ashley & Wynonna Judd has been shut down in their attempt to have a judge recuse himself from presiding over their fight to keep their late mom Naomi’s death records sealed, RadarOnline.com has learned.

According to court documents obtained by RadarOnline.com, Tennessee judge Joseph Woodruff has denied the request saying the reasons presented were not a “sufficient basis” for recusal.

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As RadarOnline.com previously reported, Ashley, Wynonna, and their mom’s husband Larry Strickland sued Dusty Rhoades, the Sheriff of Williamson County, Tennessee, along with journalists who requested records related to Naomi’s death on April 30, 2022.

The country superstar died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The Judd family brought the lawsuit to prevent any photos, and videos of audio recordings collected by police as part of their investigation. The Sheriff and local media believe the records are public records and should be released.

In court, Ashley & Wynonna argued the material was, “private, incredibly sensitive, and would do nothing more than re-open the fresh wounds of Naomi Judd's death.”

As RadarOnline.com first reported, the police file contains body cam footage including interviews of Ashley taken at the scene, photos of the interior of Naomi’s home, images of the gun used, the “Post-it” note that the singer left at the scene, and even text messages exchanged between Ashley and the family psychologist.

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The file also contains the 911 call made by Ashley on the day of the incident.

The case has been dragging out for months and the family recently demanded the judge recuse himself. They accuse him of demonstrating a “bias and unfairness” towards them during the court proceedings.

The judge “acted in a manner which would lead a reasonable person to believe the Court has unfairly prejudged this matter prior to an opportunity to be heard on the merits,” the family claimed. “The Court has expressed opinions and made inappropriate conclusions which would lead a reasonable and objective person to believe the Court’s opinion on the merits of this case is unlikely to change.”

They added, “In light of this Court’s prior rulings making merit determinations inappropriately, threat of contempt, disregard for cited case law, and disregard for the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned by the average person.”

The family requested Judge Woodruff recuse himself and a new judge be assigned. Now, Woodruff has denied the motion.

He said the record shows he did not treat the Judd family unfairly. The judge said they disobeyed the court’s scheduling order, and he ordered them to fix the problem. He said they fixed the issue, and the court did not impose sanctions.

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“While it is perhaps reasonable for the [Judd family] to perceive that the court “ruled against” the estate, it is not disqualifying for a Court to reach a decision after a hearing. The Estate does not aver and offers no evidence of “extra judicial” bias on the Court’s part.”

As a result, the Judd family will have to continue on with Woodruff.

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