A Tarrant County judge granted a motion Wednesday from Cook Children’s Medical Center to recuse Judge Alex Kim from presiding over the case of whether a 9-month-old baby should be removed from life support.
Tinslee Lewis was born with congenital heart issues and was to be taken off life support back in November.
The Lewis family got a temporary restraining order to keep that from happening, which was signed off by Tarrant County Juvenile Judge Alex Kim.
Kim went on to assign himself the case.
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Cook Children’s later filed the motion asking Kim to recuse himself. They said while it’s not unusual for a judge to sign a TRO on a weekend when court is closed, it is unusual for one party in a legal battle to handpick the judge who presides of the case.
Cook Children’s attorney went on to present evidence of Judge Kim’s connections to Texas Right to Life, which is helping to represent the Lewis family.
The family’s attorney Joe Nixon argued those connections, including a speech made at a Texas Right to Life event, donations to the organizations and social media posts, did not prove bias or suggest Kim would be impartial.
But after the judge announced his decision, Nixon said he understood and did not think it would affect the outcome of the case.
“At the end of the day, I don’t think so because we’re going to be able to make a very strong argument that this statute deprives people of their right to life, their constitutional right to decide their future for themselves in a way that, the evidence will be shocking,” said Joe Nixon.
The debate and Cook’s decision are due to a Texas statute known as the “10-day rule.’
It allows hospitals to end life support if another facility cannot be found to take the patient.
And after doctors determined there was no further hope for Tinsley after 300 days in the hospital, they say they asked more than 20 other health-care facilities to take her.
But so far, all have agreed with Cook’s findings.
“We just want to have a judge that’s going to be fair and impartial and who’s going to think about Tinslee… have her at the forefront of their mind when they’re thinking about what’s best for her and how they balance that with the law,” said Cook Children’s Assistant Vice President of Public Relations Wini King.
The hospital and family were set to meet again on December 10 for an injunction hearing. That date now remains up in the air as they wait for a new judge to be assigned to the case.