Another 4th District judge has recused herself from hearing former Provo Municipal Councilman Steve Turley's fraud case.
Judge Christine S. Johnson granted defense attorney Brett Tolman's request that she recuse herself because she and her family have a social relationship with Sgt. Richard Hales, the Utah County Attorney's Office investigator whose work led to the second-degree felony charges against Turley.
"I â¦ recognize that as this case has progressed forward, it has become clear that there is an unusual and unique amount of friction regarding Detective Hale's investigation," Johnson wrote in her ruling. "I do not wish for the court to become part of that controversy, and I fear that my continued involvement in this case will only add to it."
Attempts to contact Tolman were not successful. Turley declined to comment on the matter.
In court documents, Tolman said Johnson revealed during a May 13 telephone conference that she had worked with Hales when she was Spanish Fork's prosecutor and he was an officer on the city's police department. Tolman said Johnson also presided over Hale's son's wedding, at the detective's request.
Johnson also cancelled the June 20 preliminary hearing and ordered the case moved from American Fork back to Provo, where it was first filed in July 2011.
Judge Claudia Laycock recused herself in August 2011, telling attorneys that she knew some of the potential witnesses.
Turley was charged with seven counts of communication fraud, two counts of exploiting a vulnerable adult and one count of engaging in a pattern of criminal behavior. The charges stem from his business dealings.
If convicted, Turley could face up to 15 years in prison on each count.
Turley resigned from the council in September, just before his colleagues were poised to remove him for violating ethics rules as a councilman.