Commonwealth’s Attorney Rick Boling recused himself from prosecuting the perjury case against Lt. Jefferson Alexander on Wednesday.
Christian Circuit Judge John Atkins shared with the defense that Boling had recused himself from the case before he could be disqualified.
Boling’s recusal came after Alexander’s defense attorney Eric Eaton filed a motion Feb. 5 asking Christian Circuit Court to dismiss the case or disqualify Boling from prosecuting it.
Alexander appeared before Circuit Judge John Atkins Wednesday morning to hear the judge’s decision on the motion, but Atkins instead scheduled a pretrial conference to hear arguments for dismissal of the case from the defense.
That pretrial conference will be at 9 a.m. March 15, contingent upon when a special prosecutor is appointed.
Atkins went on to say it was not appropriate for the defense to ask for a dismissal if a special prosecutor was not present to argue in favor or against it.
“It’s kind of disingenuous, council, to ask the commonwealth to disqualify, and then when they do, try to have the case heard on the merits without a prosecutor being in place to argue the commonwealth’s side,” Atkins said.
“This does not hinge on whether Mr. Boling is still in the case or not, and he’s not. So, I’m reluctant to do so, but I don’t think I have any choice under the circumstances and the atmosphere as we exist in this case today,” the judge continued. “I’m going to schedule a pretrial conference and oral arguments on the motion to dismiss.”
Prior to Atkins’ decision, Eaton argued for total dismissal of the case rather than just the removal of Boling.
“I think the ultimate remedy here is dismissal,” Eaton said to Atkins. “It’s fundamentally unfair to Lt. Alexander to be here before you on these allegations when two prosecutors on the federal and state level have declined this case on the exact same facts that are before you today.
“Two chiefs at the Hopkinsville Police Department have reviewed these facts and have declined to bring internal affairs charges against him,” the attorney continued. “We’re here only because the current commonwealth’s attorney believes that he can litigate bad acts against the old commonwealth’s attorney through the means of this case.”
Atkins disagreed and responded by saying it doesn’t matter who is or isn’t prosecuting when the prosecutor was not present to argue their side.
The case was originally scheduled for trial March 15 and 16 but was vacated Wednesday by Atkins to schedule the pretrial conference about the dismissal.
Atkins added that the special prosecutor would likely be from the attorney general’s office.
According to New Era archives, Christian County Grand Jury indicted Alexander, a Hopkinsville Police Department officer, for first-degree perjury in February 2019 following an FBI investigation of a 2012 case of the Commonwealth v. former city councilwoman Ann Cherry.
According to the 2019 grand jury report, former Commonwealth’s Attorney Lynn Pryor questioned Alexander as a witness before a grand jury in 2012, and while sworn under oath, Alexander allegedly provided false or misleading testimony, which is a Class D felony.
What Alexander lied about is not provided in the 2019 grand jury report.