Judge Boyer Recuses Himself From Sentencing Cypher Case
FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – Citing personal relationships with extended relatives of Tausha Baker, Venango County judge Robert Boyer recused himself from the plea hearing/sentencing of Amanda Cypher in Baker’s death.
“I am personal friends with family members of the victim,” said Boyer, who met with Cypher’s attorney, Benjamin Breene Levine, and Venango County District Attorney Shawn White for most of the late morning and early afternoon.
Judge Robert Boyer was presiding over the plea hearing scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 14, for Amanda Cyper.
Boyer told the court that while he didn’t know Baker or her mother, Evelyn Lawrence, he had close personal relationships with some of her extended family members and would not be comfortable with having discretion over the sentence.
According to Boyer, he was asked to handle both the plea and the sentencing together in the same hearing.
“I agreed to preside on one condition: that the Commonwealth and the defense come to an agreement on both the plea and the sentence that did not require me to utilize any discretion,” explained Boyer.
Near the start of the hearing, White and Cypher were asked to waive any issues of conflict and both agreed. Boyer then ordered a recess for lunch.
After lunch, White, Levine, and Boyer returned to Boyer’s chambers. However, the negotiations apparently failed. When they returned to the courtroom, Judge Boyer announced he was recusing himself from the case.
Cypher, who testified for the prosecution in the case of Richard Kennedy, was offered a plea deal for her testimony. Kennedy was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Baker on October 27, 2017. The details of that deal were supposed to be part of hearing on Tuesday.
According to Boyer, another hearing in front of a different judge will be specially scheduled at a later date.
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