Superior Court judge in Quinton case recuses self
by Michelle Babcock
August 16, 2014 10:00 PM | 4209 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ryan Quinton
Ryan Quinton
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Cherokee County Superior Court Judge Jackson Harris has removed himself from hearing the case dealing with Ryan Quinton, the man charged in the wedding day crash that killed his bride, just days before Quinton was scheduled to be back in court.

The judge signed a recusal order filed Wednesday, stating he voluntarily recused and disqualified himself and transferred the case to Superior Court Judge Ellen McElyea for reassignment, court documents show.

Harris was not available for comment Friday as to why he recused himself from the case, his assistant told the Tribune.

Court documents show Quinton’s case is on the court’s calendar for Monday, but his attorney Scott Poole said it’s unlikely the trial will happen this week.

“There are cases ahead of us,” Poole said Friday. “And, even if there weren’t cases ahead of us, we filed a motion to suppress that hasn’t been heard yet, and we can’t have the trial until there’s a decision based on all that.”

Quinton, 28, of Jasper, was indicted on charges of homicide by vehicle in the first degree in the Dec. 29 car wreck that killed his bride as they drove away from their wedding reception.

Poole filed a motion July 24 explaining his reasons for wanting particular evidence withheld from being used at the trial, including the results of a blood toxicology test and the medical records seized from the hospital where Quinton was taken after the wreck.

A test of Quinton’s blood after the wreck showed an alcohol level of 0.114 percent, more than the legal limit of 0.08, warrants show.

In the motion, Poole said it is unknown whether or not Quinton was read implied consent documentation or whether or not a written consent form was signed.

Poole said Quinton was “suffering from physical and emotional trauma” from the wreck and grieving the death of his wife, and was “unable to make a knowing and voluntary decision” about whether or not to consent to the blood draw.

The attorney continued to say there was not a “valid legal basis” for suspecting Quinton was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when the sample was taken.

Poole said there will have to be a hearing on the motion to suppress the evidence before a decision can be made, and as of Friday, a hearing date had not been set, court documents show.

Poole said Quinton will report to court on Monday, but said “in all likelihood, we won’t be going to trial with it” this week.

“They’ll basically do what they call ‘calling the calendar,’” Poole explained. “And then the judge will make a decision about what order to call the cases in, as far as trials go.”

On the night of the wreck, Quinton and his bride were driving away from their wedding reception in Ball Ground when authorities say he lost control of the Pontiac Firebird he was driving on Highway 5.

The car went down an embankment and ejected his wife, Kali Quinton, 26, of Ball Ground. She died at the scene of the wreck.

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