Schabusiness judge won’t recuse himself from case

Judge Thomas Walsh wants the case to keep moving forward with the new public defender
The judge denied a defense motion, saying he's confident he'll be impartial
Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 1:35 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 3, 2023 at 5:53 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The judge hearing Taylor Schabusiness’s homicide case in Brown County rejected a defense motion to remove himself from the case.

Schabusiness’s new public defender filed the motion earlier this week. Christopher Froelich argued Judge Thomas Walsh witnessed Schabusiness attack her previous attorney last month.

Froelich said the defense isn’t confident the judge can remain impartial after that and cited Wisconsin statutes that a judge should disqualify themselves if they “cannot, or it appears he or she cannot, act in an impartial manner.”

At Friday’s hearing, Walsh said he’s been a judge for many years and is confident he’ll remain impartial.

“I’m satisfied that I’m still able to give Miss Schabusiness a fair hearing on all the issues in front of her -- a fair hearing on the issue of competence, fair hearing if this case goes to a jury, a fair hearing on that,” Judge Walsh said.

Brown County District Attorney David Lasee said the deputies acted appropriately in subduing Schabusiness after the attack and he did not see a need for Judge Walsh to recuse himself.

Schabusiness, 25, is accused of killing Shad Thyrion and dismembering his body 13 months ago. She pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect -- an insanity plea -- to charges of 1st Degree Intentional Homicide, Mutilating a Corpse, and 3rd Degree Sexual Assault.

The case has seen numerous delays as her attorney raised questions about Schabusiness’s ability to participate in her defense. Last month, after the judge said he would reschedule her trial from March until May, Schabusiness, who was wearing handcuffs and chains, leapt out of her chair and lunged at her attorney. She was pulled back by a sheriff’s deputy and removed from the court. Her attorney withdrew from the case.

Judge Walsh said he doesn’t want to continue delaying this case. He gave Froelich two weeks to meet with the court-appointed forensic psychologist who examined Schabusiness, then come back to court on March 20.

“I’m going to afford Mr. Froelich the opportunity to ask some questions of the doctor that did the evaluation for the court. That will be about 2 to 3 weeks from now. And then it’s likely after I hear that testimony, if there’s nothing else on the table, I’ll make a decision regarding competency, you know, effective at that point,” Walsh said.

A defense motion for the judge to recuse himself was denied. The next step is determining Schabusiness's competency.
The judge refused a defense request to recuse himself and wants to keep moving forward to trial