Federal judge recuses herself in Blade suit

From The Blade A mediation session scheduled in a federal lawsuit filed by The Blade over the detention of a reporter and photographer outside the Lima tank plant was canceled Tuesday after the judge recused herself.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Vernelis Armstrong, who was assigned to the case by Judge James Carr, removed herself because Fritz Byers, attorney for The Blade, represents her son in a personal matter, “which could give the appearance of impropriety,” she wrote in an order filed Tuesday. The matter was sent back to Judge Carr for further disposition.

Blade reporter Tyrel Linkhorn and photographer Jetta Fraser were detained outside the General Dynamics plant March 28 by military security personnel, who confiscated Ms. Fraser’s cameras and deleted photos. The lawsuit states that Ms. Fraser and Mr. Linkhorn were unlawfully detained, that Ms. Fraser was unlawfully restrained and received unlawful threats of bodily harm, that the cameras were unlawfully confiscated and pictures unlawfully destroyed, and that the pair’s constitutional rights were violated.