Rolling for a Judge: Cases are rolled when judges are assigned

Rolling for a Judge: Cases are rolled when judges are assigned (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The second Ray Tensing trial was rolled to "judge after judge" before it was assigned to one.

Rolling to a judge is a random process. What people may not know is, in some cases, there really is a roll out of a real bottle. No one is sure when the process started or why it's still sometimes used today.

Most cases are rolled in the assignment commissioner's office using a computer. That's hundreds of cases a week. The different courts are programmed as bottles. All judges are programmed in the computer too.

Courts programmed as bottles and the whole thing about rolling comes from a real bottle. That is how judges are picked in death penalty cases. No one knows how far back the bottle roll goes, but it’s a tradition at the courthouse.

In the bottle are sort of “pills” with numbers. Each judge has his or her own number. The bottle roll is done in front of several witnesses. The bottle roll is just for capital cases. Ray Tensing's murder trial, for example, was rolled randomly on the computer. Judge Megan Shanahan stepped away from the second trial saying it needed a blank slate, the next two judges recused themselves for different reasons. It ended up with former councilwoman and assistant prosecutor Leslie Ghiz.

Ghiz is the fourth judge the Tensing case was rolled to. She will be the one to decide a change of venue motion. Prosecution wants the trial moved out of Hamilton County. Sources say she's already decided one thing: to impose a gag order.

Judge Ghiz's first hearing on the second murder trial for ex-cop Tensing is late December.

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