"Judges Tread Carefully Over Possible Conflicts In BP Criminal Case"

"After two federal judges recused themselves from a criminal case against former BP PLC managers indicted for their role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, a third has made disclosures of his own."

"U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval of the Eastern District of Louisiana has asked the parties whether they think he should be disqualified from overseeing the trial of Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, who were both well site leaders on the Deepwater Horizon rig. Duval doesn't think he needs to step aside, and the defendants' lawyers have already said they agree.

Duval issued an order Wednesday in which he noted two potential grounds for recusal: that he owns a camp near a beach on the coast and is therefore entitled to compensation from BP and that his son is working for the fund set up to compensate victims of the spill.

The judge made it clear he does not think he has to recuse himself because he 'neither has a direct interest in the subject matter of this criminal proceeding nor does he believe that his impartiality with respect to the defendant may reasonably be questioned.'"

Lawrence Hurley reports for Greenwire December 7, 2012.

Source: Greenwire, 12/10/2012