Judge responds to request to step aside from YSU stadium low flight case
Youngstown Municipal Court Judge Carla Baldwin has filed an answer to a request by the lawyers for Chris Wilkinson to have her removed from his case.
Wilkinson, 33, was charged with inducing panic, disorderly conduct and improper operation of an aircraft after allegedly flying a small plane too close to the stadium while a YSU football game was being played in September 2019.
His case has been rescheduled three times so far with the trial scheduled for February 28 but the hearing was postponed.
Prior to the scheduled hearing, Wilkinson's lawyers filed a request with the Ohio Supreme Court on February 21, 2023, claiming the "oddities and occurrences unveiled in his cases have undermined defendant Christopher Wilkinson's faith and confidence that he is capable of receiving an impartial trial."
In the response filed on March 14, Judge Baldwin said "I can without hesitation or reservation assert that remain ready, willing and able to preside over this case impartially and free of any bias to bring the matters to just resolution."
Judge Baldwin explained the reasons for the prior delays, saying it was due to factors beyond the court's control.
The response listed an "international pandemic, the departure of the original Prosecutor who resigned from the Prosecutor’s Office and period of unavailability by the current Prosecutor and the unavailability of Attorney Espinoza due to preplanned travel overseas" as reasons for the numerous delays.
According to the response, a capias for Wilkinson's failure to appear for July 1, 2022, Case Management Conference. An apology from Wilkinson's counsel was accepted shortly after and the court did not find him in contempt.
The court later denied a Motion to Continue on October 31, which was denied by the court. Judge Baldwin's response said Wilkinson's attorneys were told that a capias would be issued if he did not appear for the scheduled November 2 jury trial.
"At the heart of the motion is the simple issue that I said no. No to any more delays and no to any resolution that the Court finds to be contrary
to the interest of justice," the response said.