Supreme Court won’t hear Davidians’ judge case

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court refused Monday to hear an appeal questioning the conduct of a federal judge involved in lawsuits over the FBI siege of the Branch Davidian complex near Waco, Texas.

The high court did not comment in rejecting a pair of appeals from survivors and from families of children who died in the fire that swept the complex in April 1993.

U.S. District Judge Walter Smith, the only federal judge sitting in Waco, refused to recuse himself despite what the Davidians called a demonstrated bias against them.

At one point the judge referred to part of the Davidians’ case as “bullcrap,” lawyers for surviving family members alleged. He also allegedly referred to a witness as a “crazy, murdering son of a bitch.”

Smith dismissed most of the claims against the federal government in 1999, and dismissed the rest of the case following a trial in 2000 in which an advisory jury found the government was not negligent.

The cases are Thompson v. Chojnacki, 03-838 and Brown v. United States, 03-849.
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