Burkett v. State

In Burkett v. State, 196 S.W.3d 892, 896 (Tex. App.--Texarkana 2006, no pet.), Burkett was charged with making a terroristic threat to the trial judge in a letter. Burkett, 196 S.W.3d at 894. The trial judge recused herself from participation in the case against Burkett for making the threat. Id. at 895. However, the trial judge administered the oath to the jury pool and excused potential jurors claiming disqualification, exemption, or hardship. Id. Another judge then presided over the voir dire and remainder of Burkett's trial. Id. The jury sentenced Burkett to eighty-five years' imprisonment. Id. at 894. Burkett argued the original trial judge's participation in the case created reversible error. Id. The Sixth District Court of Appeals reversed the judgment and remanded for a new trial, holding that "where a judge is the victim of the crime for which the defendant is on trial, a reasonable member of the public would have doubts about that judge's impartiality." Id. at 896.